From Justice Definitions Project

An injunction is a legal remedy which is imposed by a Court. In simple terms, an injunction means that one of the parties to a certain action must either do something or refrain from doing something. Once the Court makes its decision, the parties must abide by the ruling. If the party fails to adhere to the injunction, there can be stiff monetary penalties and even imprisonment in certain instances.


The law of injunction in India has its origin in the Equity Jurisprudence of England.[1] It is a form of specific relief that must be granted only where necessary, at the Court’s discretion. [2] This is to mean that the relief of injunction cannot be claimed as a right. It is an order of a court requiring a party either to do a specific act(s) or to refrain from doing a specific act(s) either for a limited period or without a limit of time.[3] The primary purpose of granting interim relief is the preservation of property in dispute till legal rights and conflicting claims of the parties before the court are adjudicated.[1]

Legal Provisions:

Under the Indian Legal System, the law relating to injunctions is contained in Sections 36 to 42 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 and Sections 94 and 95, Order XXXIX (Rules 1 to 5) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

The following types of Injunctions are granted by the Court under the provisions of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 :

  1. Temporary and Permanent Injunctions ( Sections 36 & 37)
  2. Perpetual Injunctions ( Section 38)
  3. Mandatory Injunctions ( section 39)
  4. Damages in lieu of or in addition to Injection( Section 40)
  5. Injunction to perform a negative covenant( section 42).

Circumstances in which injunctions can be granted:

Under Section 41 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 an injunction cannot be granted:-

a) To restrain any person from prosecuting judicial proceedings pending at the institution in which the injunction is sought unless such restraint is necessary to prevent a multiplicity of proceedings;

b) To restrain any person from instituting or prosecuting any proceeding in a court, not subordinate to which the injunction is sought;

c) To restrain any person from prosecuting any proceeding in a civil matter;

d) To prevent the breach of a contract, the performance of which could not be properly enforced;

e) To restrain any person from applying to any legislative body;

f) To prevent on the ground of nuisance, as an act of which it is not reasonably clear that it will not result in nuisance;

g) To prevent a continuing breach in which the plaintiff has acquiesced;

h) When equally efficacious relief can certainly be obtained by any other usual mode of proceedings except in cases of breach of trust; and

i) When the plaintiff has no personal interest vested in the matter.

Temporary Injunction

Temporary injunctions refer to injunctions that are granted for a particular period and may be granted at any stage of a suit. The grant of temporary injunctions is governed by the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The object of such injunctions is to maintain the status quo until the matter in dispute has been conclusively adjudicated and to protect the plaintiff against violation of his right for which he could not be adequately compensated in damages recoverable in the action if the uncertainty were resolved in his favour at the trial.[4]  

Interim Injunction under the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC)

The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure are limited to the grant of interim injunctions only. In the case of, Manohar Lal Chopra v. Rai Bahadur Rao Raja Seth Hira Lal,[5] it was held that in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction, the civil court has the power to grant interim injunction even if the case does not fall within the ambit of provisions of Order 39 Code of Civil Procedure.

Section 94 (c) and (e) of the Code of Civil Procedure contains provisions under which the Court may grant a temporary injunction or make such other interlocutory order as may appear to the Court to be just and convenient. Section 95 of the Civil Procedure Code further provides that where in any suit a temporary injunction is granted and it appears to the Court that there were no sufficient grounds, or the suit of the plaintiff fails and it appears to the Court that there was no reasonable or probable ground for instituting the same, the Court may on the application of the defendant award reasonable compensation which may be to the extent of the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Court trying the suit. In the case of, Agricultural Produce Market Committee v. Girdharbhai R. Chhaniyara,[6] the Apex Court concluded that such temporary injunctions can only be granted if the person seeking has a concluded right competent of being enforced by way of injunction.

Ex-parte interim Injunction

As per Rule 3 of Or. XXXIX of the Code, the power to grant an ex-parte interim injunction in exceptional circumstances based on sound judicial discretion to protect the plaintiff from apprehended injury may be granted. As per Rule 3A of Order XXXIX of the Code, where an injunction has been granted without giving notice to the opposite party, the Court shall endeavour to finally dispose of the application within 30 days from the date on which the injunction was granted and where it is unable so to do, it shall record its reasons for such inability.

Before the granting of an interim injunction, the following pre-conditions must be fulfilled as per Order 39, rules 1& 2 CPC:

(1) Prima facie case - The court must be satisfied that there is a bonafide dispute raised by the applicant, that there is a strong case for trial which needs investigation and a decision on merits and the facts before the court there is a probability of the applicant being entitled to the relief claimed by him. The existence of a prima facie right and infraction of such right is a condition precedent for grant of temporary injunction. The burden is on the plaintiff to satisfy the court by leading evidence or otherwise that he has a prima facie case in his favour. Prima facie case, however, should not be confused with a case proved to the hilt.[7] In other words, the court should not examine the merits of the case closely at that stage because it is not expected to decide the suit finally. In deciding a prima facie case, the court is to be guided by the plaintiff's case as revealed in the plaint, affidavits or other materials produced by him.

(2) Irreparable loss - The existence of the prima facie case alone does not entitle the applicant to a temporary injunction. The applicant must further satisfy the court by showing that he will suffer irreparable injury if the injunction as prayed is not granted and that there is no other remedy open to him by which he can protect himself from the consequences of apprehended injury. Supreme Court in the case of, Best Sellers Retail India (P) Ltd. vs. Aditya Nirla Nuvo Ltd.[8] observed that Prima Facie alone is not sufficient to grant a temporary injunction and can’t be awarded if the damage is not irreparable if the injunction is not given. “Irreparable injury” however does not mean that there must be no physical possibility of repairing the injury but means only that the injury must be material one, namely one that cannot be adequately compensated by way of damages or money.[7]

(3) Balance of convenience - The third condition for granting an interim injunction is that the balance of convenience must be in favour of the applicant. In other words, the court must be satisfied that the comparative mischief, hardship or inconvenience which is likely to be caused to the applicant by refusing the injunction will be greater than that which is likely to be caused to the opposite party by granting it.[9]

However, even if the dispute doesn’t satisfy the above-mentioned requirements, the Court would still be able to issue a temporary injunction under Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code; although, such discretion would have to be used judiciously.[10]

Perpetual Injunction

On the other hand, perpetual injunctions can be granted only after a suit has been heard and decided on its merits. As against temporary injunctions, the operation of perpetual injunctions is not restricted to any particular period. The object of the grant of a perpetual injunction is to prohibit the defendant from performing a particular action. This can be contrasted with mandatory injunctions wherein the defendant is required to perform particular actions.

Section 38 outlines circumstances when a court can grant a perpetual injunction:

1. To stop a violation of the plaintiff’s obligation, including contractual obligations, whether it's stated or implied,  and

2. In cases where the defendant threatens/invades the plaintiff’s property:

  a. where the defendant manages the plaintiff's property as a trustee;  

  b. the damage can't be accurately measured;

  c. monetary compensation isn't enough for the harm caused; and

  d. an injunction is needed to prevent multiple legal proceedings.

Along with the grant of an injunction, the Court may also grant damages to the plaintiff. At the same time, the Court may also grant damages to the plaintiff, instead of an injunction. However, relief for damages can only be granted if the same has been specifically prayed for by the plaintiff and if the suit for injunction is dismissed, the same shall act as a bar for the plaintiff to sue for damages.

Related to Intellectual Property Law:

Dynamic Injunction:[11]

Dynamic injunctions are a legal remedy that allows copyright holders to combat digital piracy swiftly and effectively. Unlike traditional injunctions that are static and limited to specific websites or platforms, dynamic injunctions are dynamic in nature, adapting to the evolving digital landscape. They empower copyright holders to block access to infringing websites, apps or platforms, regardless of their domain or IP address changes. This flexibility is crucial in countering the constantly evolving tactics employed by digital pirates.

Anton Piller orders:

An Anton Piller order is an extraordinary form of an ex parte order permitting an application to enter premises for the purpose of inspection etc. The name of such injunction is derived from the case of Anton Piller KG v. Manufacturing Processes Ltd.[12] where the order was passed in an action for infringement of copyright. In order to successfully claim the benefit of such an order, certain prerequisites (similar to that of the grant of an interlocutory injunction under Order XXXIX) need to be fulfilled. These include the existence of a prima facie case, the likelihood of damage being caused to the plaintiff, clear evidence of the defendant possessing incriminating articles and a possibility of destruction of the same by the defendant. [12]The third condition forms the most important element of proof associated with an Anton Piller order. This is because an applicant seeking such an order is expected to meet a “sterner test” than that involving an interlocutory injunction.[13] The Courts in India have employed the civil remedies envisaged by an Anton Piller order by passing ex parte interlocutory injunctions of the same type. However, since it has been noticed that ex parte injunctions are often granted by courts without considering the adverse consequences of such an order, additional guidelines have been issued in this regard by specific High Courts, the Delhi High Court being one.

Mareva Injunction:

Mareva injunction or a freezing injunction finds its basis in English law, in the landmark decision of Mareva Compania Naviera S.A v. International Bulkcariers S.A[14] wherein the Court granted this relief for the first time. It is an interlocutory ad-personam injunction which restrains the respondent/judgment debtor or the party against whom it is granted, from disposing off its assets otherwise than in the usual course of business, beyond the jurisdiction of the concerned Court. Mareva injunction is not a matter of right and is not granted as a means of compensation to the plaintiff/judgment creditor. Usually, resort to Mareva injunction is taken while the court or arbitration proceedings are pending or when the proceedings are concluded and a decision has been rendered but the execution of the decision is not yet undertaken. The primary objective of Mareva injunction is to enable the plaintiff/judgment creditor to enforce the decision against the respondent/judgment debtor, to prevent the enforcement of the decision from being frustrated and defeated. The principle of Mareva injunction is not alien to India's legal system and the same is sometimes seen as an attachment before judgment under Order XXXVIII Rule 5 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The jurisdiction of Indian courts to pass a Mareva injunction was recognised in the case of Mohit Bhargava v. Bharat Bhusan Bhargava.[15]

Consequences of violation of an order of injunction:

To give power to the Trial Court to punish the erring Defendant committing a breach of an Interlocutory Order Rule 2-A was introduced in Order XXXIX of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. The purpose of Rule 2-A of CPC is not to punish a person who had disobeyed the Injunction Order but to enforce it. In the case of disobedience of any injunction granted or other order made under rule 1 or rule 2 of order XXXIX, or breach of any of the terms on which the injunction was granted, then the Court may order the property of the person guilty of such disobedience or breach to be attached, and may also order such person to be detained in the civil

prison for a term not exceeding three months unless in the meantime the Court directs his release. However, no such attachment made shall remain in force for more than one year, at the end of which time, if the disobedience or breach continues, the property attached may be sold and out of the proceeds, the Court may award such compensation as it thinks fit to the injured party and shall pay the balance, if any, to the party entitled thereto.

Appearance in Official Database

As Case Type

Appearance of suits relating to injunctions in the websites of various High Courts:

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In the Supreme Court, injunctions are filed as interlocutory applications for the following purposes:

  • Grant of Interim Relief
  • Ex-Parte Ad-Interim Relief
  • Interim Injunction
  • Grant of Injunction
  • Stay Application
  • Ex-Parte Stay
Screenshot of the Supreme Court Rules .png

Differences between an injunction and a stay order:

Injunction and Stay are two different concepts. Stay refers to the stoppage or suspension of judicial proceedings whereas an injunction refers to an order restraining the performance of an act or obliging to perform an act. Thus, a stay order is made to a court and requires that the court to which it is made, gets the communication while an injunction is issued to a party and comes into effect immediately after it is issued.


  1. 1.0 1.1 An Indian Perspective on Establishing a Prima Facie Case in Patent Suits, Professor (Dr.) Ramakrishna Thammaiah, SSRN, 4th October, 2017,
  2. Adhunik Steels Ltd. v. Orissa Manganese and Minerals (P) Ltd., (2007) 7 SCC 125 ; Section 36, Specific Relief Act.
  3. Adhunik Steels Ltd. v. Orissa Manganese and Minerals (P) Ltd., (2007) 7 SCC 125
  4. Zenit Mataplast P. Ltd. vs. State of Maharashtra, 2009(6) Supreme 584
  5. Manohar Lal Chopra v. Rai Bahadur Rao Raja Seth Hira Lal, AIR 1962 SC 527
  6. Agricultural Produce Market Committee v. Girdharbhai R. Chhaniyara AIR 1997 SC 2674
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dalpat Kumar vs. Prahlad Singh, AIR 1993 SC 276
  8. Best Sellers Retail India (P) Ltd. v. Aditya Nirla Nuvo Ltd. AIR 2012 6 SCC 79
  9. Maria Margarida Sequeira Fernandes vs. Erasmo Jack De Sequeira, (2012) 5 SCC 370
  10. Manmohanlal vs. Seth Hiralal, A.I.R. 1962 SC 527
  11. Essenese Obhan and Taarika Pillai, India: Dynamic Injunctions To Tackle Digital Piracy In India, Mondaq, 18th December, 2020,
  12. 12.0 12.1 Anton Piller KG v. Manufacturing Processes Ltd. (1976) 1 All ER 779
  13. Bardeau Ltd. et al. v. Crown Food Services Equipment Ltd. et al. (1982), 66 C.P.R. (2d) 183
  14. Mareva Compania Naviera S.A v. International Bulkcariers S.A, [1975] EWCA Civ J0623-5
  15. Mohit Bhargava v. Bharat Bhusan Bhargava, (2007) 4 SCC 795
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