As a law firm, we would like to provide an informative and detailed opinion on Section 41 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (India) with respect to Non Resident Indians (NRI). This section provides for the grant of injunctions in cases where there exists an obligation in favour of the applicant that may be breached by the respondent. The provision is applicable across all Indian states.
Section 41 reads as follows: “An injunction may be granted to prevent the breach of an obligation existing in favour of the applicant, whether expressly or by implication.” This means that when an obligation exists between parties – either explicitly stated or reasonably inferred from their relationship – a court can order that one party refrain from taking actions that could lead to a breach of this obligation.
A crucial aspect to consider is what constitutes an ‘obligation’ under this section. Obligations can arise from various sources such as contracts, torts or even property rights. It ensures protection against irreparable harm caused due to breaches by imposing restraining orders.
The relevance for NRIs stems from often being owners/stakeholders in properties/contracts/agreements within India but residing outside India in most instances. Thus, they rely heavily on legal provisions prohibiting any illegal activity impacting their interest(s).
Several case laws have interpreted and applied Section 41 and its scope over time:
1. In Madura Coats Ltd vs Modi Rubber Ltd., it was held that Section 41 applies both retrospectively and prospectively i.e., obligations arising before or after passing proceedings are entirely covered under this provision.
2. In Gopal Vallabh Das vs Sheo Baksh Singhania And Anr., it was observed that agreeing not to do certain acts amounts only to negative covenant; thus if anyone comes forward with some positive suggestion which will not infringe upon rights guaranteed thereby then he cannot invoke negative covenants.
3. In Surjeet Kumar Malhotra vs Devki Nandan Malhotra, it was held that the court could grant injunctions not only to prevent a breach of obligation but also in situations where there is an imminent danger of violation.
4. In Brij Bhushan Lal And Ors. vs M/S. Shree Hanuman Cotton Mills & Ors., it was stated that injunctive reliefs can be granted only if there exists a prima facie case for maintaining either suit or defense.
NRIs may seek this provision’s protection in the event of any expected infringement/breach from local parties as well as opposing litigants seeking to perform actions violating the applicable obligations’ existence in their respect.
In conclusion, NRIs stand to greatly benefit from Section 41 and its provisions through obtaining injunction orders against potential breaches affecting them directly and indirectly due to legal provisions providing safeguarding against damages caused by illegal activities interfering with their rights/interest(s) ensuring protection for such instances irrespective of geographical barriers.