Preserving Balance and Justice: The Role of Perpetual Injunctions

Perpetual Injunctions Under the Specific Relief Act

Perpetual Injunctions in Specific Relief Act


In the realm of legal remedies, injunctions play a pivotal role in maintaining equity and preventing irreparable harm. Among the various types of injunctions, perpetual injunctions hold a distinct significance. Perpetual injunctions are a form of equitable relief granted by courts to prevent a party from engaging in certain actions that would cause harm to the rights or interests of another party. These injunctions are governed by the provisions of the Specific Relief Act. A perpetual injunction is a powerful tool that courts use to safeguard rights, maintain order, and prevent irreparable harm.

Understanding the Perpetual Injunctions

A Perpetual Injunction Is a Court Order that Restrains an Individual or Entity from Engaging in A Specified Act or Activity. Unlike Temporary Injunctions that Are Granted for A Limited Period During the Pendency of A Lawsuit, Perpetual Injunctions Have a Permanent Nature. They Are Issued After a Thorough Evaluation of The Facts and Circumstances of The Case, with The Primary Objective of Preventing Irreparable Harm and Ensuring Justice.

Perpetual injunctions can be preventive or mandatory in nature. Preventive injunctions prohibit a party from performing a particular act, whereas mandatory injunctions compel a party to perform a specific act. In this article, our focus lies primarily on preventive perpetual injunctions.

Sections 53 and 54 of the Specific Relief Act

According to Section 53 of the Act, a perpetual injunction can only be granted by the decree made at the hearing and upon the merits of the suit; the defendant is thereby perpetually enjoined from the ascertain of a right, or from the commission of an act, which would be contrary to the rights of the plaintiff. The section is merely a general section enacting that a perpetual injunction can only be granted by d decree in a suit. It does not by itself give a general right to obtain a perpetual injunction in all cases but is dependent upon the sections that follow in the present chapter. These define circumstances where perpetual injunction can be granted and where cannot.

Section 54 provides that, subject to the other provisions contained in, or referred to by Chapter VIII, a perpetual injunction may be granted to prevent the breach of an Obligation existing in favor of the applicant, whether expressly or by implication. A perpetual injunction may also issue in the cases specified in the section when the defendant invades or threatens to invade the plaintiff's right to, or enjoyment of, property. When a perpetual injunction is to be granted to prevent the reach of an obligation existing in favor of the applicant and such obligation arises from contract, the Court will be guided by the rules and the provisions contained in Chapter II of the Act which deals with the specific performance of contract.

When a Perpetual injunction cannot be granted, there is no question for the grant of a temporary injunction [2002  CLD  77 Lahore]. The plaintiff cannot seek permanent or temporary injunction through a separate application unless he seeks consequential relief of temporary or permanent injunction in the suit/plaint. 2019  MLD  1550

Essential Conditions for The Grant of Perpetual Injunction 

Whenever there was an invasion or threat to invade the plaintiff's right to or enjoyment of property, a Perpetual injunction could competently be granted but subject to the condition that "invasion or threat to such right should not be capable of being compensated through pecuniary compensation or by other adequate relief".

Under the provisions of the Specific Relief Act, a plaintiff or an applicant must specify the following conditions in order to seek permanent injunction:

1. Injunction Must Be to Prevent Breach of An Obligation

"Obligation” is defined in Section 3 as “including every duty enforceable by law”, so that when a legal duty is imposed on one person in respect to another, that other is invested with the corresponding legal right. The first paragraph of the section thus establishes the broad and general rule that given the breach of an existing legal right that is vested in the applicant, the breach thereof may be restrained by injunction. After the establishment of his legal right and of the fact of its violation, a plaintiff is in general entitled, of course, to a perpetual injunction to prevent the recurrence of the wrong unless there be something special in the circumstances of the case such as laches, or where the interference with the plaintiff's right is trivial.

Where to prevent a breach of any obligation, it was necessary to compel the performance of certain acts, which the Court was capable of enforcing, the Court would in its discretion, grant an injunction to prevent the breach complained of and also to compel the performance of requisite acts. Provisions of Ss. 54, 55 & 56, Specific. Relief Act, 1877, for grant of Perpetual injunction, must be read together. No injunction could be granted when there was no nuisance or interference with rights or apprehension thereof [1995  CLC  846 Karachi]

A perpetual injunction may be issued to prevent a breach of an obligation existing in favor of the plaintiff, whether expressly or by implication particularly when the defendant invades or threatens to invade the plaintiff's right or enjoyment in the particular circumstances enunciated by S.54 of Specific Relief Act, 1877. [2003  MLD  9 Karachi]

(a) Obligation Must Be a Legal Obligation

For the issue of an injunction under this section, the obligation must be a legal obligation. An obligation may be taken to be a tie or bond which constrains a person to do or suffer something; it implies a right in another person to which 1t is correlated, and it restricts the freedom of the oblige with reference to definite acts and forbearances but in order that it may be enforced by a court, it must be a legal obligation and not merely a moral duty.

(b) Contractual Obligation

No injunction can be granted in case of contracts, the specific performance of which cannot be granted. Accordingly, those contracts could be ordered to be specifically performed wherein monetary compensation is not an adequate relief; and such cases are those where the defendant invades or threatens to invade the plaintiff's right to or enjoyment of property. Perpetual injunctions will be granted in such cases. Conversely, where the breach is such as can be compensated by money, the injunction will be refused. Similarly, contracts involving personal skill, violation, etc., and those contracts the specific performance whereof gain for the plaintiff an unfair advantage over the defendant and indefinite contracts will not be specifically enforced and consequently, no injunction would be granted. But an injunction can be granted against a person who aids a breach of contract.

An injunction could not be granted to prevent the breach of a contract the performance of which would not be specifically enforced [2021  CLD  518]

(C) Injunction to Perform Negative Agreements

A contract may contain positive as well as negative terms. When the question of specific performance is raised it becomes important to discuss whether all the terms of a contract will be specifically enforced or only the positive or negative terms. For example, "A" contracts with "B" to sing for twelve months at B’s theatre and not to sing in public elsewhere without his written permission. Thereafter, A makes a breach of the contract. B cannot obtain a specific performance of the contract to sing, but he is entitled to an injunction restraining A from singing at any other place of public entertainment. [(1852) 1 De GM & G 604]

(D) Obligations Arising Under General Law

In this class, one comes across

  • (1) cases regarding obligations arising under a trust,
  • (2) obligations arising out of a breach which amounts to a tort which in tum includes 3 number of civil wrongs, and
  • (3) any other obligation legal or equitable.

2. Defendant's Threat to Plaintiff's Property Rights

Sub-section (3) deals with the breach of obligation other than obligations arising under a contract. In order to entitle the plaintiff to obtain an injunction, there must be an invasion or threatened invasion of the plaintiff's right to or enjoyment of property. Simply because the enjoyment of the plaintiff is rendered less beneficial, that would not entitle him to obtain an injunction unless he can show that there was a legal duty on the part of the defendant towards him and that by non-performance of that legal duty, the enjoyment of his property is materially affected.

Cases in Which Perpetual Injunction May Be Granted 

(1) Injunction Relating to Trustees 

Where the defendant who is a trustee of the property for the plaintiff begins to abuse his powers, that vests sufficient authority in a Court to grant an injunction restraining the trustee from doing so. Illustrations (b) to (i) of Section 54 of the Act are instances of obligations in the nature of trusts. The rule is based on the principle that a trustee may not use the powers which the trust confers on him at law, except for the legitimate purposes of the trust. If he attempts to do so, the Courts will restrain him by injunction. 

(a) Principle Underlying Grant of Injunction

A court of equity will always entertain jurisdiction wherever there is a trust and will enjoin a breach of trust, whether grave or light, without inquiring if the same may be adequately and effectively compensated for by award of damages in money. “It has become the invariable practice,” says Mr. Joyce “when any act involving breach of trust is intended to be done, though not in its consequences irremediable, as for instance, where trustees contract to sell without proper care, or in a way which the parties interested consider inconsistent with the trust, to apply to a court of equity to prevent the trustee from selling. 


(i) An injunction will be granted where necessary to prevent the trustee from encumbering the trust property by mortgage, conveyance, or contract, or in any other manner which would constitute a breach of trust. A trustee shall not be permitted to use his powers by a Court of Equity, except for the legitimate purpose of his trust. [(Balls v. Strutt), 1 Mare, 146] 

(ii) A, a trustee for B, is about to make an imprudent sale of a small part of the trust property. B may sue for an injunction to restrain the sale, even though compensation in money would have afforded him adequate relief. 

(b) No Standard for Ascertaining the Actual Damage

Where no criterion can be applied in order to ascertain the actual damage caused or likely to be caused by the invasion of the plaintiff's right to, or enjoyment of property, an injunction will be issued by the Court to prevent the invasion. For the grant of the injunction it must be proved that damage will be “irreparable,” because if the danger is not proved to be so imminent that no one can doubt that if the remedy is delayed the damage will be suffered, it must be shown that if the damage does occur at any time, it will come in such a way and under such circumstances that it will be impossible for the plaintiff to protect himself against it if relief is denied to him in quia timet action. 

Loss which could be measured in terms of money, could not be termed as "irreparable loss".



Where the defendant built a wall practically reducing the quantity of light and air passing through the windows of the plaintiff under easement thereto acquired by the latter and obstruction was to such an extent as to prevent the plaintiff from carrying on his business in his premises, plaintiff was granted an injunction on the ground that there had been a substantial wrongful injury to his rights. [ILR 19 All. 259] 

(c) Pecuniary Compensation Would Not Afford Adequate Relief

Where the defendant threatens to invade the enjoyment of property by the plaintiff, and the invasion is such that pecuniary compensation would not afford adequate relief, the plaintiffs have a right to obtain a perpetual injunction. It is the very first principle of injunction law that prima facie the Court will not grant an injunction to restrain an actionable wrong for which damages are the proper remedy.  

(i) Damages when can be given in substitution for an injunction:

It may be stated as a good working rule that damages may be given in substitution for an injunction in cases where these are found in combination with the four following requirements, viz. where the injury to the plaintiff's legal rights is

  • (1) small,
  • (2) capable of being estimated in money,
  • (3) can be adequately compensated by a small monetary payment, and
  • (4) where the case is one in which it would be oppressive to the defendant to grant an injunction. 


(i) The inhabitants of a village claim a right of way over A’s land. In a suit against several of them, A obtains a declaratory decree that the land is subject to no such right. Afterward, each of the other villagers sues A for obstructing his alleged right of way over the land. A may sue for an injunction to restrain them.

(ii) A lets certain lands to B and B contracts not to dig sand or gravel there out. A may sue for an injunction to restrain B from digging in violation of his contract. 

(d) To Prevent Multiplicity of Judicial Proceedings

A perpetual injunction can be granted to prevent a multiplicity of judicial proceedings.

(e) Fair Practice

Injunctive relief is equitable relief. The person seeking equity must do equity. The party seeking such an equitable relief must satisfy the Court that his own acts and dealings in the matter have been fair, honest, and free from any taint or illegality. An injunction is a writ framed according to the circumstances of the case commanding an act that the Court regards as essential to justice or restraining an act, which it esteems contrary to equity and good conscience. An injunction as is well known is an equitable remedy and accordingly is to conform to the well-known maxim of the Law of Equity that "he who seeks equity must do equity". The law as contained in the Specific Relief Act is governed by the aforesaid principle, therefore, a plaintiff who asks for an injunction must be able to satisfy the Court that his own acts and dealings in the matter have been fair, honest, and free from any taint or illegality and that if in dealing with the person against whom he seeks the relief, he has acted in an unfair or inequitable manner, he cannot have this relief.

Jeremy's Equity Jurisprudence 307 (C.M. Row, Law of Injunction, Seventh Edition 1994) fol.]

Types of Cases Where Perpetual Injunctions may Apply

Perpetual injunctions find application in a wide array of cases where the violation of rights needs to be restrained. Some common scenarios include:

1. Property Disputes

In property disputes, perpetual injunctions can be sought to prevent a party from trespassing upon, encroaching upon, or alienating the property of another. These injunctions are crucial in protecting ownership and possession rights.

2. Intellectual Property Infringement

Perpetual injunctions are extensively utilized in cases of intellectual property infringement, such as copyright, trademark, and patent violations. These injunctions prevent unauthorized use of intellectual property, preserving the exclusivity of the rights holder.

3. Nuisance

When a certain activity causes substantial inconvenience or annoyance to another party, the affected party can seek a perpetual injunction to cease the activity. Nuisance cases often involve disputes over noise, pollution, and other disturbances.

4. Contractual Obligations

Perpetual injunctions can also be granted to enforce specific performance of contractual obligations. If one party breaches a contract, the other party can seek an injunction to ensure that the terms of the contract are fulfilled.

5. Defamation and Privacy

In cases of defamation and invasion of privacy, perpetual injunctions may be sought to restrain the dissemination of false or private information that can cause reputational or emotional harm.

Difference Between Temporary and Perpetual Injunction

(a) The nature of a temporary injunction is provisional, continuing until a specified time or until the further order of the court. A permanent injunction can only be granted by a decree made at the hearing and holds good without any time limit. 

(b) While the former is granted to preserve the status quo, the latter is granted to preserve and protect the right established by the plaintiff, 

(c) While the former can be granted at any period of the suit, even ex parte, without notice to the other party to show cause why it should not be granted, the latter can only be granted after the trial when the Plaintiff has established his case and on the merits of the case, 

(d) A temporary injunction is an outcome of an emergency and therefore it is provisional; it does not conclude any right. A perpetual injunction on the other hand concludes a right; it is in effect a decree. . 

(e) Consequently, a temporary injunction restrains the defendant for a particular time only (till the date of hearing at the most) while a perpetual injunction restrains him forever.

(f) Grant of the former is regulated by the Code of Civil Procedure, Order 39, Rules 1 and 2, while the latter is regulated by Sections 53 to 57 of the Specific Relief Act.

(g)  A temporary injunction can be dissolved under Order 39, Rule 4 of the C.P.C., or else it terminates automatically when the suit is decided. A permanent injunction cannot be dissolved as it holds good forever restraining the defendant perpetually from the assertion of a right or from the commission of an act which would be contrary to the right of the plaintiff.

Landmark Case [1960  PLD  153 DHAKA]

(a) Perpetual, temporary or interlocutory Relief

The law relating to injunctions is contained in the Civil Procedure Code, of 1908, and the Specific Relief Act. The law as to perpetual injunctions is regulated by the Specific Relief Act, and as to temporary or interlocutory injunctions, it is regulated by the Civil Procedure Code, of 1908.

Although the Specific Relief Act deals with perpetual injunc­tions leaving temporary injunctions to be regulated by the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, the same principles in the Specific Relief Act, 1877 must equally apply to the granting of temporary injunctions and these are to be sought in the Specific Relief Act, 1877.

Granting of temporary injunctions is a matter of judicial discretion, and if a Court which grants injunction rightly appreciates the facts and applies the true principles, there is sound judicial discretion.

The issue of temporary or perpetual injunction is a form of specific relief. When a specific relief is granted by preventing a party from doing that which he is under an obligation (which includes every duty enforceable by law, vide section 3 of the Specific Relief Act) not to do, it is called preventive relief. This relief is to continue until the specified time named in the order. It is merely provisional in its nature and does not conclude a right. Its sole object is to preserve the subject in controversy without determining any question of right and to prevent further perpetra­tion of wrong or the doing of any act whereby the right in controversy may be materially injured or endangered. In order to sustain an action for the preservation of a property or a right in issue in status quo, it is not necessary to decide in favor of the plaintiff upon the merits nor is it necessary that he should preset such a case as will certainly entitle him to a decree upon the final hearing, since he may be entitled to a temporary injunc­tion although his right to relief prayed for may ultimately fail. In other words, in a case where a plaintiff prays for an injunction to be issued temporarily, it would be sufficient if it be shown that in the suit he has a fair question to raise as to the existence of the right alleged.

Though reliefs by specific performance and by injunction belong to the same branch of law, yet there is a distinction between the remedies, in that specific performance is directed to compel the performance of an active duty while an injunction is generally directed to prevent the violation of a negative duty.

The Court by an injunction ties up the hands of the defendant and preserves unchanged not only the property itself but also the relation of all the parties thereto. Again relief by way of the issue of an injunction is granted by the principle of quia timet, and if the Court finds that there is a substantial question to be investigated and the matter to be preserved in status quo till the final determination of that question, it is a sufficient ground for granting an injunction.

(b) Judicial discretion

The exercise of jurisdiction to grant relief by issue of an injunction is not a matter ex debito justitiae, but one which is purely within the discretion of the Court, and the latter is not bound to grant such relief merely because it is lawful to do so. The discretion of the Court is not arbitrary but sound and reasonable, guided by judicial principles and capable of correction by a Court of law. The question of discretion is usually a question of degree, and, when the Court is to exercise a dis­cretion, it is to look to all the circumstances of the case.


Perpetual injunctions play a pivotal role in protecting legal rights and preventing irreparable harm in various civil matters. By granting either mandatory or prohibitory injunctions, the courts uphold the principles of justice and equity, ensuring that parties are held accountable for their actions. The Specific Relief Act provides a structured framework within which perpetual injunctions are sought and granted, emphasizing the discretionary power of the courts to deliver fair and just outcomes.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a perpetual injunction? Explain the cases and conditions under which a perpetual injunction is granted?


A perpetual injunction is a court-issued order that permanently restrains a party from engaging in specific actions to prevent harm to another's legal rights or interests. Such injunctions are granted in cases involving violation of rights, irreparable harm, balance of convenience, and absence of adequate legal remedies. They apply to scenarios like property disputes, intellectual property infringement, nuisance cases, contractual obligations, and privacy concerns. Perpetual injunctions are issued when monetary compensation would be inadequate, ensuring equitable resolution and safeguarding rights

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