Limitation on Granting Injunctions

The power of the court to grant injunctions, a remedy preventing a party from certain actions, is subject to certain limitations outlined under the law.

Section 41 of the Specific Relief Act delineates instances where the court cannot grant an injunction. These limitations are designed to balance the interests of justice, prevent abuse of legal processes, and ensure that injunctions are issued judiciously. Understanding these restrictions is crucial in comprehending the nuanced nature of equitable remedies and the circumstances under which a court may or may not intervene.

Bare Act PDFs

Section 41 of the Specific Relief Act

Section 41 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 outlines circumstances where a court may refuse to grant an injunction. An injunction is a legal remedy restraining a party from engaging in certain actions. This section provides a set of conditions where the court, in the exercise of its discretion, may decide against issuing an injunction. These conditions range from situations where other legal remedies are more suitable to instances where the plaintiff’s behaviour disentitles them to court assistance.

Section 41(a)

According to this provision, an injunction cannot be granted to restrain any person from prosecuting a judicial proceeding that is already pending at the institution of the suit in which the injunction is sought. However, there’s an exception: if such restraint is necessary to prevent a multiplicity of proceedings, the court may still grant the injunction.


Suppose there is a complex property dispute between two parties, and both parties have filed separate suits in different courts to resolve the matter. One party, recognizing the impracticality and potential injustice of having multiple proceedings on the same issue, seeks an injunction to restrain the other party from prosecuting the judicial proceeding initiated in another court. In this scenario, the court may grant the injunction to prevent the multiplicity of proceedings and ensure a more efficient and fair dispute resolution.

Section 41(b)

According to this provision, an injunction cannot be granted to restrain any person from instituting or prosecuting any proceeding in a court not subordinate to the injunction sought.

Bare Act PDFs


Suppose a scenario where Party A and Party B are involved in a contractual dispute related to a significant construction project. Dissatisfied with the progress, Party A seeks an injunction to prevent Party B from initiating or continuing legal proceedings in a higher court, say, a superior district court, which is not subordinate to the court where Party A has filed its suit.

If Party A were allowed to obtain an injunction against proceedings in a court not subordinate to the court where the injunction is sought, it could lead to a situation where one party has significant strategic advantages based on the choice of the legal forum. Section 41(b) prevents such a scenario and ensures that each party can choose the appropriate legal forum for their case without undue interference through injunctions.

This provision reinforces the principle of legal autonomy and prevents one party from unduly influencing or restricting the legal choices available to the other party. It also contributes to the fair administration of justice by allowing parties to choose the appropriate legal forum based on their case assessment and legal strategy.

Section 41(c)

According to this provision, an injunction cannot be granted to restrain any person from applying to any legislative body.


Consider a case where Party A, a concerned citizen, is dissatisfied with certain environmental practices of a factory owned by Party B. Party A wishes to bring attention to this matter and believes that raising the issue before a legislative body, such as a parliamentary committee or a local council, is an effective way to address the concern.

If Party B seeks an injunction to prevent Party A from applying to or raising the issue before the legislative body, section 41(c) would come into play. Under this provision, the court would be restricted from granting such an injunction. This ensures that individuals retain the right to address grievances through appropriate legislative channels without facing legal hindrance through injunctions.

The rationale behind this provision is to safeguard the democratic process and the right of individuals to participate in civic affairs. It prevents the misuse of legal mechanisms to stifle or restrain individuals from engaging with legislative bodies on matters of public interest.

Section 41(d)

According to this provision, an injunction cannot be granted to restrain any person from instituting or prosecuting any proceeding in a criminal matter.


Let’s say that Party A believes they have been defamed by Party B through certain statements made in a public forum. Party A filed a criminal complaint against Party B under defamation laws, seeking redress for the alleged harm to their reputation.

If Party B seeks an injunction to prevent Party A from initiating or continuing the criminal proceeding, invoking section 41(d), the court would be barred from granting such an injunction. This provision ensures that individuals can initiate or continue criminal proceedings for offences recognized by law, and injunctions should not interfere with criminal justice.

The purpose of this provision is to uphold the principles of criminal justice, ensuring that legal mechanisms like injunctions do not impede the prosecution or defence in criminal matters.

Section 41(e)

According to this provision, an injunction cannot be granted to prevent the breach of a contract, the performance of which would not be specifically enforced.

Example: Consider a scenario where Party A contracts with Party B to deliver certain goods. The contract specifies a delivery date, but Party A cannot fulfil their end of the bargain and deliver the goods on time for various reasons.

Now, Party B, disappointed with the delay, seeks an injunction to prevent the breach of contract and compel Party A to deliver the goods. However, suppose the performance of this particular contract is such that it cannot be specifically enforced (for example, because the goods are unique or the circumstances make it impractical to compel performance). In that case, an injunction cannot be granted under section 41(e).

This provision recognizes that not all breaches of contract can or should be addressed through injunctions. It preserves the principle that equitable remedies, like injunctions, are generally applicable when the specific performance of the contract is feasible and just.

Section 41(f)

Section 41(f) of the Specific Relief Act specifies a situation where an injunction cannot be granted. In particular, an injunction cannot be granted to prevent, on the ground of nuisance, an act of which it is not reasonably clear that it will be a nuisance.

Example: Suppose a dispute exists between two neighbours, A and B. A wants an injunction to prevent B from constructing a new structure on his property, claiming that it will create a nuisance. However, at the time of filing the suit, it was not definitively clear that the proposed construction would result in a nuisance.

In this case, section 41(f) would come into play. The court would be hesitant to grant an injunction at the initial stage if it’s uncertain whether the act (construction) will lead to a nuisance. The provision ensures that injunctions are not issued based on speculative claims of nuisance but require a reasonable certainty that the act will cause a nuisance.

Section 41(g)

This section implies that if the plaintiff has, by his actions or inaction, indicated acceptance or approval of a continuing breach, the court may not grant an injunction to prevent that breach.

Example: If a property owner knows that his neighbour is regularly encroaching on his land but takes no action or raises no objection over an extended period, the court might consider that the owner has consented to the encroachment. In such a case, the court may refuse to grant an injunction.

Section 41(h)

According to this provision, if another legal remedy is available that is as effective as an injunction, the court may deny the injunction.

Example: If damages are a sufficient remedy, and there is no need for an injunction to prevent harm, the court may reject the injunction.

Section 41(i)

According to this provision, If the plaintiff’s conduct or that of his representatives is improper or disentitles him to the court’s assistance, the court may refuse an injunction.

Example: If the plaintiff has engaged in fraudulent conduct related to the subject matter of the injunction, the court may disentitle him from obtaining an injunction

Section 41(j)

According to this provision, the court may deny an injunction if the plaintiff lacks a genuine personal interest in the subject matter.

Example: If someone brings a suit to stop construction on a piece of land but has no legal or rightful claim, the court may refuse the injunction due to lack of personal interest.

Suhani Dhariwal
WritingLaw » Law Notes » Limitation on Granting Injunctions Under Specific Relief Act Law Study Material
If you are a regular reader, please consider buying the Law PDFs and MCQ Tests. You will love them. You may also support us with any amount you like. Thank You.