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Report No. 145

4.6. Injunctions against public sector undertakings.-

It is needless to add that the benefit of these restrictions1 on the discretion to issue temporary injunctions are available as much to public sector undertakings, as to undertakings in the private sector. For example, it has been held that in a matter touching the discipline or the administration of the internal affairs of a university, the court would not interfere by injunction, unless a strong prima facie case is made out.2

Conversely, where the plaintiff, a handling contractor engaged in handling iron and steel materials the Durgapur Stockyard of the defendant company sued for permanent injunction and also prayed for temporary injunction to restrain the defendant company from making deductions from its running bills, the plaintiff's prayer was allowed and temporary injunction granted because-(i) he had made out a prima facie case; (ii) deductions would cause him considerable inconvenience in the performance of the job; and (iii) not granting an injunction would mean irreparable injury to the plaintiff.3

In an interesting case which also involved a public authority, the Allahabad High Court has discussed the ingredients required for the grant of interlocutory injunction; and it seems to be useful to devote a few lines to its judgment.4 Relying, inter alia, on the House of Lords decision in American Cyanamide Co.5 the High Court emphasised that the three requirements for obtaining an injunction are-Prima facie case, balance of convenience and irreparable injury. It also pointed out that the House of Lords had placed great emphasis on the balance of convenience. As to interference by the High Court in appeal, the Allahabad High Court expressed itself as under:-

"A court of appeal against the judgment of granting of refusing to grant injunction can interfere when the order passed is arbitrary or is passed by not taking into account the relevant considerations. The court below gave a go by to all the principles of law and, most arbitrarily and without applying its mind to the requirements, granted the injunction restraining the defendants from realising the unpaid instalments. The judgment shows that the learned Judge thought that the interlocutory injunction could be given as a matter of course.

Its granting rests in the sound discretion of the court, to be exercised in accordance with well-settled equitable principles and in the light of all the facts and circumstances of the case. The discretion of the court does not include a misapplication of the law or an obvious error in the application of the principles of equity. The character of injunction being extraordinary, it should be exercised sparingly and cautiously. After thoughtful deliberation injunction should be given or awarded only in clear cases."

On the facts, the order of the trial court, restraining the defendant Vikas Parishad from realising from the plaintiff unpaid instalments claimed towards the hire purchase agreement of flats, was set aside. In a recent case6 the Supreme Court has considered in detail the question of grant of interlocutory mandatory injunctions. The Court observed that interlocutory mandatory injunctions are granted generally-

(a) to preserve or restore the status quo of the last non-contested status which preceded the pending controversy until the final hearing (when full relief may be granted), or

(b) to compel the undoing of those acts that have been illegally done or the restoration of those which were wrongfully taken from the party complaining.

But, since-(i) the granting of such an injunction to a party who fails or would fail to establish his right, at the trial may cause great injustice or irreparable harm to the party against whom it was granted or, (ii) alternatively, not granting it to a party who succeeds or would succeed, may equally cause great injustice or irreparable harm, Courts have evolved certain guidelines. The Court stated the guide lines as under:-

(1) The plaintiff has a strong case for trial. That is, it shall be of a higher standard than a prima facie case that is normally required for a prohibitory injunction.

(2) It is necessary to prevent irreparable or serious injury which normally cannot be compensated in terms of money.

(3) The balance of convenience is in favour of the one seeking such relief.

1. Para. 4.5, supra.

2. V.S. Vishwavidyalaya v. Raj Kislore Tripathi, AIR 1977 SC 615.

3. S. Krishnaswamy v. South India Film Chamber of Commerce, AIR 1969 Mad 42.

4. U.P. Awas Evam Vikas Parishad v. N.V. Rajagopalan Acharya, AIR 1989 All 125 (127, 128, 129), paras. 11 to 15 (K.C. Agarwal & B.L. Yadav, JJ.).

5. American Cyanamde Co. v. Ethicon Ltd., (1975) 1 All ER 504 (HL).

6. Dorab Cawasji Warden v. Coomi Sorab Warden, AIR 1990 SC 867 (873), para. 14.

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