Oberoi Law Chambers


Navigating Legal Complexities: The Challenges of Choosing Remedies


In the intricate realm of law, one frequently encounters a challenging juncture where they must navigate a multifaceted legal environment. The ‘election of remedies’[1], a legal doctrine, is a key intersection at the centre of this landscape. Even though not usually in the limelight, this legal concept is an integral part of legal strategy and decision-making since it holds substantial influence over dispute outcomes.

This doctrine, firmly grounded in principles of equity and estoppel, fundamentally involves the act of choosing one of two or more coexisting, contradictory legal remedies for the same factual situation.[2]


The Doctrine of Election of Remedies in the Indian legal landscape traces its origins to fundamental principles of justice and fairness. At its core, it seeks to prevent parallel proceedings and contradictory judgments on the same issue between the same parties. In India, the doctrine finds application across various legal contexts, including landmark cases that have shaped its jurisprudential foundation.

In A.P. State Financial Corporation v. M/s GAR re-rolling Corporation[3], the Supreme Court of India laid the groundwork for the doctrine’s application in India. It held that the doctrine would not apply if the ambit and scope of the two remedies were essentially different.

However, in the case of L.R. v. P Savithramma[4], it was ruled that there could be no estoppel against a statute, suggesting that concurrent statutory remedies could be pursued. This divergence in judicial interpretations highlights the evolving nature of the doctrine and its capacity to adapt to the nuanced requirements of different legal contexts.


To develop a comprehensive understanding of this doctrine, it is imperative to delineate its fundamental elements:

  1. Inconsistency: The doctrine comes into play when pursuing one remedy inherently conflicts with the pursuit of another. For instance, if a party initiates legal action for a breach of contract, they are typically precluded from concurrently seeking specific performance of the same contract.
  2. Waiver of Remedies: By selecting one remedy, a party effectively waives their entitlement to pursue alternative remedies for the same issue, preventing the possibility of double recovery or unfairness.
  3. Exceptions: While the doctrine establishes a general rule, exceptions do exist. These exceptions come into play when parties seek remedies for different facets of the same issue or when the chosen remedy becomes untenable for reasons such as court rejection.


The application of this doctrine varies significantly across different legislative frameworks. Here, we explore its interaction with various laws and statutes, and analyze landmark cases that have shaped its interpretation.

I. Patents Act, 1970: Dr. Aloys Wobben v. Yogesh Mehra & Ors.[5]

This case raised questions about the simultaneous invocation of multiple remedies in patent disputes. The court upheld the principle that statutory remedies outlined in the Patents Act could coexist without necessitating the invocation of the doctrine. This judgment underscored the importance of allowing parallel remedies when legislative provisions permit such concurrent proceedings.

II. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988: National Insurance Company Ltd. Vs. Mastan & Ors.[6]

The Motor Vehicle Act incorporates the Doctrine of Election of Remedies in Section 167. This provision precludes litigants from seeking recourse in one tribunal after having pursued a remedy in another tribunal, thus averting conflicting decisions. This effectively bars the party from subsequently seeking a remedy from the other tribunal. This application of the doctrine demonstrates its importance in the realm of motor vehicle law.

III. Debt Recovery and Tribunals: Transcore Vs. Union of India[7]

In cases involving debt recovery and tribunals, the Doctrine of Election of Remedies takes on a different dimension, particularly when there is no inherent inconsistency between the two available remedies. The doctrine is deemed inapplicable when remedies are viewed as complementary rather than conflicting. This principle was upheld in the case of Transcore Vs. Union of India, where the court concluded that the remedies provided by the two jurisdictions are different in nature, allowing the pursuit of parallel proceedings.

IV. Competition Act: Ankur Exports Pvt. Ltd Vs. Monopolies and Restricted Trade Practices Commission[8]

Under the Competition Act, parallel proceedings are permitted without invoking the Doctrine of Election of Remedies, provided that the legislation expressly sanctions such parallel actions. This is evident in the principle set forth in the case of Ankur Exports Pvt. Ltd V. Monopolies and Restricted Trade Practices Commission. The court ruled that the principle of election of remedies cannot be applied to deny parallel proceedings if explicitly permitted by the Act.

V. Matrimonial Cases:

In matrimonial cases, the doctrine is applied judiciously to ensure fairness and equity.

  1. Shri Jagmohan Kashyap vs. Nct of Delhi & Anr[9]

This case exemplifies the nuanced approach courts adopt when dealing with maintenance claims under the Domestic Violence Act and Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C). The court held that the right to claim maintenance under these provisions is not mutually exclusive. Parties can seek interim maintenance before one court while simultaneously pursuing permanent maintenance under another. However, maintenance granted in one court must be considered by the other court when making subsequent awards.

  1.  Rajnesh v. Neha[10]

In the realm of matrimonial cases, the case of Rajnesh v. Neha provides comprehensive guidelines to avoid overlapping jurisdiction and conflicting orders in maintenance cases. It suggests adjusting or setting off maintenance amounts granted in previous proceedings when determining further amounts in subsequent proceedings. The decision in Rajnesh v. Neha establishes a robust framework for handling maintenance claims and avoiding inconsistent orders.

  1. Mamta Bhardwaj v. Vinod Kumar Bharadwaj[11]

This case underscores that maintenance can be claimed under various statutes concurrently. The court ruled that the Domestic Violence Act does not affect rights under existing laws, allowing parties to seek maintenance from different enactments simultaneously. The decision reinforces the principle that remedies can coexist when legislative provisions permit such parallel proceedings.

  1. Bhagyashree v. Purshottam[12]

The Bombay High Court emphasized that obtaining maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act does not disqualify a party from seeking maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr. P.C. The Court held that both remedies could be pursued, provided they were not sought for the same period. The decision in this case illustrates the court’s commitment to ensuring fairness and equity in matrimonial cases.

VI. Industrial Disputes Act: Syndicate Bank vs. Vincent Robert Lobo[13]

The Industrial Disputes Act introduces an additional layer of complexity to the Doctrine of Election of Remedies. In the case of Syndicate Bank vs. Vincent Robert Lobo, the court addressed the issue of whether remedies under the Industrial Disputes Act and a civil suit could be pursued concurrently. The court concluded that the remedies provided by the two jurisdictions are different in nature, allowing the pursuit of parallel proceedings.

VII. NPA Act & Arbitration Act: Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited V. Deccan Chronicle[14]

The Supreme Court, in this case, tackled the question of whether invoking the Arbitration Act precludes recourse to the SARFAESI Act. The court held that the two proceedings can coexist, emphasizing that the SARFAESI Act is retroactive in nature and involves only procedural changes. This decision highlights the flexibility of the Doctrine of Election of Remedies when remedies are not inherently inconsistent.

Although, in the case of Vidya Drolia vs. Durga Trading Corporation[15], the court had given a contradictory decree, stating that the litigant can’t exercise the doctrine of election of remedies to select arbitration as an alternative remedy if its inconsistent with the mandatory and special statues. This dispute is in regard to the enforcement of Security Interest, which comes under a Special Legislation of SARFESI Act, which will make this alternative remedy inconsistent in nature.


The interplay between the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA), the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) Amendment of 2018 poses intricate challenges within the Indian real estate legal landscape.

  1. RERA vs. CPA:

Under the CPA, consumers who have entered into agreements to purchase flats or apartments can file complaints for grievances. While consumer forums and civil courts offer expeditious resolutions, the Imperia Structures v. Anil Patni[16] case clarified that remedies under CPA are supplementary rather than derogatory to other legislations such as RERA. This ensures that consumers have multiple avenues to seek redress without being prevented by the Doctrine of Election of Remedies.

Section 88 of the RERA Act raises questions about the applicability of other laws alongside RERA remedies. The Supreme Court’s ruling in IREO Grace Realtech Pvt. Ltd. v. Abhishek Khanna & Ors.[17] highlights that the remedies provided under the RERA Act and the Consumer Protection Act are complementary rather than mutually exclusive.


In the case of A. Infrastructure Limited v. Macrotech Developers Ltd.[18], a consumer complaint sought a refund of an amount paid along with interest, following a legal pursuit that traversed various channels, including the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA). The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission dismissed the matter, invoking the doctrine of ‘estoppel by election.’ This case underscores the recognition of this doctrine in matters involving multiple concurrent remedies.

  1. RERA vs. IBC:

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) Amendment of 2018 extended a lifeline to homebuyers. Before this amendment, homebuyers had limited participation and remedies under the IBC. However, by including homebuyers as financial creditors, the amendment gave them the right place and representation in the Committee of Creditors (COC) meetings. The case of Pioneer Urban Land & Infrastructure Limited & Others v. Union of India[19] upheld the constitutional validity of this amendment and emphasized the primacy of IBC in case of a clash with RERA provisions.

IX. Homebuyers as Decree Holders – A Strategic Approach

Although homebuyers can no longer file individual applications under Section 7 of the IBC, those with RERA refund orders can approach the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) as decree-holders. This strategic approach, as validated by the Ashok Tripathi & Anr. Vs. M/s. Ansal Properties & Infrastructure Ltd. case, allows homebuyers to enforce their rights and recover their dues. This approach serves as a lifeline for homebuyers seeking recourse in situations where developers default on their obligations.


In conclusion, the Doctrine of Election of Remedies, since its inception, has proven to be a complex and intricate terrain within the realm of legal disputes. In patent cases, remedies run parallel and can be invoked concurrently under the Patent Act, while in motor vehicle cases, parties are barred from seeking alternative remedies as per Section 167. Debt recovery cases also follow suit, with a landmark judgment clarifying that the Doctrine doesn’t apply when remedies are concurrently sought under the NPA Act. The same principle extends to competition law, where remedies can be pursued simultaneously under the commission, as explicitly permitted by the Act. This principle is mirrored in industrial disputes. In matrimonial cases, maintenance remedies can be sought under various statutes, but a landmark judgment dictates that they must offset against each other. However, some sectors, such as NPA and arbitration-related cases, remain in a grey area, with the court holding differing views, but the most recent judgment leans toward the doctrine’s applicability in NPA cases due to its specialized legislation. In real estate, a hierarchy places IBC above RERA and RERA above CPA, impacting the final verdict despite multiple available remedies. The article outlines strategic approaches for homebuyers in this context. In conclusion, although the Doctrine may appear labyrinthine, deeper knowledge helps unravel it with ease.

[1] Maitland’s Lectures of Equity, Lecture 18.

[2] White & Tudor’s leading Cases in Equity Vol. 18 Edn. At p.444.

[3] A.P. State Financial Corporation v. M/s GAR re-rolling Corporation, (1994) 2 SCC 674.

[4] L.R. v. P Savithramma, Appeal (Civil) 5477 of 2004.

[5] Dr. Aloys Wobben v. Yogesh Mehra & Ors., CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6718 OF 2013.

[6] National Insurance Company v. Mastan and anr., 2006 (2) SCC 641.

[7] Transcore v. Union of India (2008) 1 SCC 125.

[8] Ankur Exports Pvt. Ltd V. Monopolies and Restricted Trade Practices Commission, 2010 Comp LR 43, [2010] 100 SCL 1.

[9] Sh Jagmohan Kashyap vs Govt. Of Nct of Delhi & Anr. on 27 May 2022.

[10] Rajnesh v. Neha (2021 Vol 2 SCC 324).

[11] Mamta Bhardwaj v. Vinod Kumar Bharadwaj (2021 SCC OnLine Del 4841).

[12] Bhagyashree v. Purshottam, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 6583.

[13] Syndicate Bank Vs. Vincent Robert Lobo, (1971) 2 Lab LJ 46.

[14] Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited v. Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited & Ors., 2018(2) Bom.C.R.739.

[15] Vidya Drolia vs. Durga Trading Corporation, SLP No. 11877 of 2020

[16] Imperia Structures v. Anil Patni, Civil Appeal No. 3581-3590 Of 2020.

[17] Supra 4.

[18] A. Infrastructure Limited v. Macrotech Developers Ltd., (CC/182/2022).

[19] Pioneer Urban Land & Infrastructure Limited & Others v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1005.


Authored By:

Trishla Jain: BBA LL.B. (Hons.) 2019 -24 Amity Law School, Kolkata

Bhavya Adhvaryu: BBA-LLB (Hons.) 2019-24, Symbiosis Law School, Pune

Edited By:

Tammana Bahl

Email: tammana@oberoilawchambers.com

Contact: +91 8360347585

Gagan Oberoi

Email: office@oberoilawchambers.com

Contact: +91 981270007

Recent POSTS

Disclaimer & Confirmation

As per the rules of the Bar Council of India, lawyers and law firms are not permitted to solicit work or advertise. By clicking on the “I agree” button below, the user agrees and acknowledges that: –

The contents of this website do not constitute, and shall not be construed as, legal advice or a substitute for legal advice. Oberoi Law Chambers is not liable for any consequence of any action taken by the user relying on material / information provided on this website or through any external links thereon. The information provided under this website is solely available at the user’s request for informational purposes only.

I Agree