Final Relief Cannot Be Granted At Interlocutory Stage – Absolute or Not?


Despite the constitutional mandate for a speedy trial of the cases, the reality often falls short of expectations, leading to backlog of cases, frustration among litigants, delayed justice to those awaiting resolution. In order to protect the interest of the litigants and ensure effective judicial remedies, courts usually depend on reliefs in the form of interim order. From legal standpoint, there is a huge gap or difference between the discretionary powers of court while granting interim reliefs and final remedies.


When it comes to deciding the final relief, the courts have to rely on the precedents and they prefer not to create many exceptions, to the established rulings. Contrary to this, the courts have much more discretionary power in granting interim relief based on the facts of each case. Although the decision taken by the court is done with the intention to lessen the risk of injustice to both the parties, however there is still a scope of arbitrariness in granting such relief.  This poses a great challenge to the judicial system of India, in terms of legal and business strategies.

The drawback associated with the grant of Prohibitory or Mandatory injunction, is the probability that the interim order when passed in favour of losing party in the final adjudication, will invalidate the final relief granted. There will always be a risk that the court may take a ‘wrong’ decision. The court has adopted a principle, where they take a decision which seems to sustain lesser risk of injustice to the winning party, if the decision turns out to be incorrect in final adjudication. In Nandan Pictures Ltd. v. Art Pictures Ltd. & Ors[1], it was held by the high court that in a circumstance where mandatory injunction is granted at the interlocutory stage, it is granted merely to restore the status quo and not to institute any new state of things. It is not possible to restrict the courts from granting ad-interim injunction in any circumstance. Therefore, mandatory injunctions can be granted by the courts in order to preserve the status quo that existed before the initiation of the lawsuit, until the final adjudication.

Case Analysis
[Image Sources: Gettyimages]

It is a well settled argument of law that final relief or mandatory injunction cannot be granted as a way of interim relief, at the interlocutory stage. This argument is upheld in some of the cases, however there is no restriction by the law that such a relief is ought to be refused. Thus, it is not an absolute principal of law. On the other hand, it is necessary to note that such a relief can only be granted by the court in special circumstances at the interlocutory stage. Justice Beaman in the case of Rasul Karim and another versus Pirubhai Amirbhai [2]was against the concept of courts granting temporary injunction in a mandatory form. Conversely, Justice Shah was of the opposite opinion and later in the case of Champsey Bhimji & Co. versus The Jamna Flour Mills Co. Ltd[3], the two judges of Bombay High Court supported the decision of Justice Shah.

The courts in India possess the authority to issue interlocutory mandatory injunctions but that should be done under exceptional circumstances, taking into consideration the specific facts and circumstances of each case. The primary objective should be to preserve or restore the status quo that existed prior to the commencement of the dispute until a final resolution is reached. However, since granting such injunctions to a party that fails to establish their rights during trial could be unfair and result in significant injustice or irreparable harm to the opposing party. Conversely, not granting it to a party that would succeed could similarly cause harm and delayed justice, the courts have established certain guidelines to govern the granting of interlocutory mandatory injunctions. These guidelines aim to ensure fairness and prevent undue harm to either party, which are:

The Plaintiff shows that there exists a compelling need to prevent irreparable or severe injury, typically beyond monetary compensation.

A compelling case for trial, surpassing the typical prima facie standard required for a prohibitory injunction.

The party seeking such relief, gets balance of convenience.

Given its fundamentally equitable nature, the decision to grant or deny an interlocutory mandatory injunction ultimately lies within the sound judicial discretion of the Court.


Sukerma Rani Kapoor versus Om Prakash Kapoor and Others [4]

This case was regarding a conflict between the mother (Plaintiff) and her son. The Plaintiff held that she is the registered owner of the property and had been receiving rent out of it for about more than a decade. It was held by the court to grant interlocutory mandatory injunctions based on the case’s particulars, the Hon’ble Justice A.K. Sikri, thus ordered the Defendant to vacate the property and reinstated the Plaintiff to its possession at the interim stage, thus returning the status quo ante, that is the position in to its previous state.

The State of Orissa v. Madan Gopal Rungta[5], held as under:

Interim relief can merely be granted to support the primary relief that may be available to a party. If the Court determines that there are no other adequate remedies or reliefs for the petitioners, the court may take up to proceed with examining the case on its merits, facts and decide whether the petitioner has demonstrated any infringement of their legal rights or not. In the due process of adjudication, the court can grant an appropriate interim order to ensure the status quo, till final judgement is given.

Deoraj v. State of Maharashtra[6]

It was held by the Supreme Court in the following case that there are two situations, one is where granting of interim relief would essentially result in providing the final relief itself. Conversely, there are cases in which, not granting of interim relief would lead to dismissal of the main petition. Hence if there exists a very strong prima facie case, exceeding beyond the usual threshold and if an irreparable injury I caused to the applicant for not granting the relief, then the Court may grant interim relief, even if it is similar to that of the final relief. But this must be done only in some exceptional circumstances, only when the court is completely convinced that not granting of the interim relief will cause injustice throughout the proceedings, with no chance of rectification towards the end. Additionally, the conduct of the parties will be taken into account, and the Court may also impose certain conditions on the parties as deemed appropriate.

Vishal Gupta versus L and T Finance Limited C.S. (OS) 2309 of 2008 [7]

This case was filed by the plaintiff against the employer, demanding for the declaration that they are bound to give a relieving letter to the Defendant, along with a permanent mandatory injunction to compel the company to issue said letter with other damages. The Court took into consideration the fact that the Plaintiff was no longer employed by the Defendant and that denying the relieving letter would prevent him from accepting another job offer, causing irreparable harm. The Court thus, rejected the Defendant’s objection that such a main prayer couldn’t be granted at an interim stage Consequently, the Court issued the interlocutory mandatory injunction.


While the aforementioned case laws represent only a few instances in which courts, under exceptional circumstances requiring immediate action, have granted interlocutory Mandatory Injunctions, it is important to note that the rule prohibiting final prayers at the interim stage is not an absolute principle with universal applicability. Moreover, when justice demands it, the law can be adapted to provide assistance to the aggrieved party. This shows the flexibility of legal principles in accommodating the needs of fairness, justice and equity. Thus, it becomes evident that judicial discretion, guided by principles of fairness and necessity, plays a crucial role in shaping legal remedies, ensuring that the law remains responsive to the demands of justice.

Author: Tanya Khanijow, in case of any queries please contact/write back to us via email to or at  Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorney.


  • Nandan Pictures Ltd. v. Art Pictures Ltd. & Ors., AIR 1956 Cal. 428
  • Rasul Karim and another versus Pirubhai Amirbhai, reported as ILR 1914 38 Bom. 381
  • Champsey Bhimji & Co. versus The Jamna Flour Mills Co. Ltd.ILR 1914 16 Bom. 566
  • Sukerma Rani Kapoor versus Om Prakash Kapoor and Others 2002IIAD(Delhi)860
  • The State of Orissa v. Madan Gopal Rungta AIR 1952 SC 12
  • Deoraj v. State of Maharashtra AIR 2004 SC 1975.
  • Vishal Gupta versus L and T Finance Limited C.S. (OS) 2309 of 2008

[1] Nandan Pictures Ltd. v. Art Pictures Ltd. & Ors., AIR 1956 Cal. 428

[2] Rasul Karim and another versus Pirubhai Amirbhai, reported as ILR 1914 38 Bom. 381

[3] Champsey Bhimji & Co. versus The Jamna Flour Mills Co. Ltd. ILR 1914 16 Bom. 566

[4] Sukerma Rani Kapoor versus Om Prakash Kapoor and Others 2002IIAD(Delhi)860

[5] The State of Orissa v. Madan Gopal Rungta AIR 1952 SC 12

[6] Deoraj v. State of Maharashtra  AIR 2004 SC 1975

[7] Vishal Gupta versus L and T Finance Limited C.S. (OS) 2309 of 2008

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