Rectification of Instruments as per the Indian Specific Relief Act

Rectification of instruments is a legal remedy available under the Specific Relief Act of 1963, which allows parties to correct errors or mistakes in written instruments such as contracts, deeds, agreements, or other legal documents.

The remedy of rectification aims to bring the written instrument in line with the actual intentions and understanding of the parties involved in its formation.

Bare Act PDFs

Legal document mistakes can occur for various reasons, including typographical errors, clerical mistakes, or misunderstandings between the parties. These errors can lead to unintended consequences and may jeopardize the validity and enforceability of the instrument. Rectification provides a means to rectify such mistakes and ensure that the instrument accurately reflects the original agreement.

Rectification of instruments in India is governed by section 26 of the Specific Relief Act. This section provides the legal framework for rectifying mistakes in written instruments. Certain requirements must be met to obtain rectification, and important implications are associated with this remedy. Let’s explore them further.

Requirements of Rectification

The points below describe the requirements of rectification.

1. Mutual Mistake

Rectification can be sought when there is a mutual mistake, meaning both parties to the contract are in agreement that there is an error or mistake in the written instrument. The mistake should be of such a nature that it does not reflect the true intentions or understanding of the parties at the time of contract formation.

2. Document Does Not Reflect Intention

The mistake in the instrument should be such that it results in the document not reflecting the parties’ true intention. The mistake should be substantial and not a mere clerical error or a minor discrepancy.

Bare Act PDFs

3. Clear and Convincing Evidence

The party seeking rectification bears the burden of proving that there was a mistake in the instrument and that the rectification is necessary to correct that mistake. The evidence presented should be clear, convincing, and beyond any reasonable doubt.

Implications of Rectification

The following points describe the implications of rectification.

1. Correcting Mistakes

The primary implication of rectification is that it allows for correcting mistakes in written instruments. Once rectified, the instrument will reflect the true intentions and understanding of the parties, thereby avoiding any unintended consequences that may have arisen due to the mistake.

2. Validity and Enforceability

Rectification ensures that the corrected instrument is valid and enforceable. It removes any doubts or ambiguities caused by the mistake and provides legal certainty to the parties involved.

3. Impact on Rights and Obligations

Rectification may have implications on the rights and obligations of the parties. Once the instrument is rectified, the parties will be bound by its corrected terms, and any obligations or duties arising from the instrument will be based on the rectified version.

4. Retroactive Effect

Rectification operates retroactively, meaning it is effective from the original contract date. It is as if the mistake had never occurred, and the corrected terms are deemed to have been in place from the beginning.

Rectification is a significant legal remedy ensuring written instruments’ accuracy and integrity. Rectifying mistakes upholds the parties’ intentions and maintains the contracts’ fairness and enforceability. It provides a mechanism to correct errors and avoid any unjust or unintended consequences arising from mistakes in legal documents.

Example of Rectification of Instruments

Let’s consider an example of rectification of instruments involving a business partnership agreement.

Mr X and Mr Y enter a partnership agreement to start a new business venture. They draft a written agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of their partnership, including the profit-sharing ratio and the duration of the partnership. However, during the drafting process, a typographical error mistakenly stated Mr X’s profit share as 60% instead of the intended 40%.

Upon discovering the error, Mr X and Mr Y realize that the incorrect profit-sharing ratio does not accurately reflect their original agreement and may lead to disputes in the future. To rectify the instrument, they decide to seek legal intervention.

They file a rectification suit before the court, providing evidence such as their initial negotiations, emails, and other supporting documents demonstrating their original intention for Mr X to have a 40% profit share. Both parties argue that the incorrect ratio was a genuine mistake and request the court to rectify the instrument to reflect the accurate profit-sharing arrangement.

After carefully reviewing the evidence and considering the circumstances, the court grants the remedy of rectification. It orders the correction of the agreement by substituting the incorrect profit-sharing ratio of 60% with the correct ratio of 40%. By rectifying the instrument, the court ensures that the partnership agreement accurately reflects the parties’ original intention, avoiding potential conflicts or disputes arising from the incorrect provision.

This example highlights how rectification of instruments can be used to correct errors or mistakes in written agreements, ensuring that the parties’ true intentions are accurately reflected. It emphasizes the significance of rectification in maintaining the integrity of contractual relationships and promoting fairness and justice among the parties involved.

Conditions Under Which Rectification May Be Granted

Here are four conditions under which rectification may be granted.

1. Mutual Mistake

Rectification can be granted when there is a mutual mistake, meaning both parties to the contract agree that there is an error or mistake in the written instrument. The mistake must be material and should not reflect the true intentions or understanding of the parties at the time of contract formation.

2. Clear Evidence

The party seeking rectification must provide clear and convincing evidence of the mistake in the instrument. This evidence should demonstrate that the written document does not accurately represent the intended terms of the agreement.

3. Intention to Rectify

It is necessary for the party seeking rectification to establish an intention to rectify the mistake when entering into the contract. This means that the parties recognized the error and intended to correct it.

4. Prompt Action

The party seeking rectification should promptly apply for rectification. Delay in seeking rectification may affect the court’s decision, as it can raise questions about the party’s sincerity or the importance of rectifying the mistake.

Role of the Courts in Rectifying Instruments

The role of the courts in rectifying instruments is crucial in ensuring the fair and just resolution of disputes arising from errors or mistakes in written agreements. When parties seek rectification, they rely on the judicial system to correct and align the instrument with their original intentions. The courts play several key roles in this process. Some of them are:

1. Discretionary Power

The courts have discretionary power when granting rectification. They carefully consider the evidence and circumstances of each case to determine whether rectification is warranted.

2. Application for Rectification

The party seeking rectification must apply to the appropriate court, providing evidence of the mistake and the need for rectification. The court evaluates the evidence presented and assesses whether the requirements for rectification are met.

3. The burden of Proof

The burden of proof lies with the party seeking rectification. On a balance of probabilities, they must demonstrate that there was a mistake and that rectification is necessary to correct it.

4. Objective Approach

The courts take an objective approach when rectifying instruments. They consider the parties’ intentions during contract formation, documentary evidence, and surrounding circumstances to determine the true intentions and rectify any mistakes.

5. Retroactive Effect

Once the court grants rectification, it operates retroactively. The corrected terms are deemed to have been in place from the beginning, and any rights, obligations, or consequences arising from the rectified instrument are applied retroactively.

The role of the courts in rectifying instruments is to ensure fairness and accuracy in contractual relationships. They carefully review the evidence, assess the parties’ intentions, and exercise their discretionary power to rectify mistakes and uphold the integrity of written instruments.


The remedy of rectification serves as a safeguard to uphold the integrity and enforceability of written agreements, fostering confidence and trust in the legal system and contractual relationships. When mistakes occur, seeking rectification ensures that parties can rely on the accurate representation of their agreements, promoting fair and just outcomes in contract law.

Suhani Dhariwal
WritingLaw » Law Notes » Rectification of Instruments 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.