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Supreme Court on 13th August in Madhukar N. Jagtap & Ors v Smt. Pramilabai C. Parandekar held that in a suit of specific performance, alienation of property is subject to the doctrine of lis pendens to the extent that it affects the rights of the parties in suit.

The effect of doctrine of lis pendens is not to annul all the transfers effected by the parties to a suit but only to render them subservient to the rights of the parties under the decree or order which may be made in that suit. In other words, its effect is only to make the decree passed in the suit binding on the transferee, i.e., the subsequent purchaser. Nevertheless, the transfer remains valid subject, of course, to the result of the suit. Supreme Court has affirmed the same in its 2012 judgment in A. Nawab John and Ors. v. V.N. Subramaniyam

On failure to transfer the possession of land, a suit for specific performance was sought for the same and in the alternative, recovery of earnest money with interest was prayed for. Trial Court in its erroneous observation had held that the plaintiffs did not seem bona fide in their contention of willingness and readiness to buy the land; hence it did not grant them the relief of specific performance.

Supreme Court held that transfer of property to a third party while the subject matter was under litigation, did not make the sale void as such; the rights of all parties however were subject to the result of the suit.

In terms of relief to the plaintiffs, looking into the myriad of facts, the apex court decided to grant compensation of Rs. 15 lakhs to them, in lieu of specific performance.

— India Legal Bureau

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