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Difference between status quo – injunction (Short notes)

Status quo - Injunction
June 17, 2021


  1. Status quo
  2. When ‘Status quo’ is to be granted?
  3. The trend of making an order directing parties
  4. Injunction

Status Quo:- The existing state of things at any given date. Status quo ante bellum, the state of things before the war.  “According to the ordinary legal connotation, the term ‘status quo’ implies the existing state of things at any given point of time.”, Satyabrata Biswas v. Kalyan Kumar Kisku(1994) 2 SCC 266.

When ‘Statu quo’ is to be granted? :- The phrase or expression means the existing state of affairs. This is an abbreviation of an abbreviation: the nominal form of the Latin prepostional phrase, in statu quo, meaning, literally, “in the state in which”; and that is a contraction of the original “in statu quo res erant ante bellum”, meaning “in the state in which things were before the war”. Therefore, to “maintain the status quo” is to keep things as they presently are. The related phrase “status quo ante” of course implies a reversion to a previous state of affairs. It follows, therefore, that when we speak of a status quo, an existing state of affairs, that state of affairs must be known, and it must be known with a sufficient degree of exactitude. To merely order a status quo without knowing or being shown what that status quo might be is always a risky affair. An order of status quo is an order of suspended animation. It might, in a given case, affect a transaction that is nearly complete. Should such a transaction be permitted to go through or should it also be held in abeyance is a matter to which a Court can and should direct its attention. A court may permit some transactions and restrict others. Therefore, to order a status quo in, as it were, the abstract, sans information, sans notice and sans hearing is something that should be reserved for only the most palpable and apparent cases, those where no further discussion is necessary. To issue such an order only because “it will not cause any prejudice to anyone” is most improper; it well might, and that can only be known if the adjudicating body hears the other side. See. Club Cabana Recreations Private Limited and Another Vs. Tresorie Traders Private Limited and others, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 10432.

The trend of making an order directing parties to ‘maintain the status quo’:-

The Court held that ”We do not suggest that in no case can an order of status quo ever be made. But it is our considered view that an order of status quo can be passed only in circumstances that are so sufficiently precise that both sides and the Court encounter no ambiguity about the state of affairs that are ordered to be retained as-is.8 The expression ‘status quo’ means ‘the existing state of affairs’; ‘the situation that currently exists’;9 or to keep things as they presently are. It is the nominative form of the prepositional Latin phrase, in statu quo, literally ‘in the state in which’. In the case of a dilapidated building, a generalized order of status quo without reference to a specific or know state of affairs only means that the building should be allowed to continue to deteriorate further, and that persons are allowed to continue to occupy the building that has been found to be dangerous not only to themselves but to the general public. Such an order of status quo itself poses and carries a risk not only to the occupants themselves but also to others who are not connected with the present litigation at hand. That stripe of generalized, non-specific status quo order in Section 354 cases is contrary to law, to statute, to precedent, and even logic: there can be no status quo preventing the monsoon, for instance, or any other force of nature, nor will it operate to prevent continuing structural degradation over time. Such a non-specific order of status quo is therefore entirely impermissible. If necessary, a court will decide the case finally there and then at the stage of admission (as we have this one).” See. Mahendra Bhalchandra Shah and Others vs. Municipal Corporation of Grater Bombay and Others , 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 1147.

It is curious to see that in Kishore Kumar Khaitan v. Praveen Kumar Singh(2006) 3 SCC 312, the Supreme Court held it was not proper to order a status quo (there, in respect of premises) without indicating what the status quo was.

Injunction:- This is the discretionary process of preventive and remedial justice, whereby a person is required to refrain from doing a specified meditated wrong, not amounting to a crime. It is either (1interlocutory i.e. provisional or temporary, until the coming in of the defendant’s answer or until the hearing of the cause; or (2perpetual i.e. forming part of a decree made at a hearing upon the merits, whereby the defendant is perpetually inhibited from the assertion of a right or perpetually restrained from the commission of an act contrary to equity and good conscience.

In fact, injunction is a means for preventive relief. It may be either temporary or perpetual. See. Land Mortgage Bank of India v. Ahmadbhoy, ILR 8 Bom.35.

The scope of the connotation “prima facie” case is explained by the Supreme Court. See.  Martin Burn Ltd. v. R.N Banerjee, AIR 1958 SC 79. Balance of convenience must be in favour of granting the injunction – See. Dalpat Kumar v. Prahlad Singh, AIR 1993 SC 276. Irreparable loss – See. Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund v. Kartick Das, (1994) 4 SCC 225. Interim injunction/interlocutory orders/stay, See. Ramniklal N Bhutta Vs. State of Mharasthra, AIR 1997 SC 1236.

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