Navigating Legal Crossroads: Mastering The Selection Of Remedies

Posted On - 7 February, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva

In the intricate network of legal complexities, individuals often encounter a point where the intricacies of a diverse legal terrain demand adept navigation. The ‘election of remedies,’[1] a legal doctrine, emerges as a crucial junction in this labyrinth. Though it may not always bask in the limelight, this legal concept significantly influences strategic decision-making, casting a profound impact on dispute outcomes. Rooted in principles of equity and estoppel, the doctrine involves the pivotal act of choosing one legal remedy from a set of contradictory options tailored for the same factual backdrop.[2]

Exploring The Doctrine Of Election Of Remedies

Within the Indian legal framework, the Doctrine of Election of Remedies finds its roots in fundamental principles of justice and fairness. At its core, it seeks to thwart parallel proceedings and conflicting judgments on the same issue involving the same parties. Cases such as A.P. State Financial Corporation v. M/s GAR re-rolling Corporation[3] have laid the foundational stones for the application of this doctrine in India. However, the doctrine’s flexibility becomes apparent in cases like L.R. v. P Savithramma,[4] where the court ruled out estoppel against a statute, suggesting the pursuit of concurrent statutory remedies. This judicial diversity underscores the doctrine’s adaptability to the diverse nuances of legal landscapes.

Deconstructing The Doctrine: Key Elements

A thorough grasp of the doctrine necessitates an exploration of its fundamental elements:

  1. Inconsistency: The doctrine comes into play when pursuing one legal remedy inherently clashes with another. For instance, initiating legal action for a contract breach often precludes the concurrent pursuit of specific performance for the same contract.
  2. Waiver of Remedies: Opting for one remedy essentially waives the right to pursue alternative remedies for the same issue. This safeguards fairness and precludes the risk of double recovery.
  3. Exceptions: While a general rule is established, exceptions abound. These exceptions become relevant when parties seek remedies for different facets of the same issue or when the chosen remedy becomes unviable due to court rejection.

The Doctrine In Action Across Legislations

The Doctrine of Election of Remedies exhibits significant variation in its application across diverse legislative frameworks. Examining its interactions with various laws and statutes unveils intriguing insights:

I. Patents Act, 1970: The case of Dr. Aloys Wobben v. Yogesh Mehra & Ors.[5] clarified that statutory remedies in patent disputes can coexist without necessitating the invocation of the doctrine. This judgment emphasizes the importance of allowing parallel remedies when legislative provisions permit concurrent proceedings.

II. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988: Section 167 of the Motor Vehicle Act incorporates the Doctrine of Election of Remedies, preventing litigants from seeking recourse in one tribunal after pursuing a remedy in another. This provision aims to prevent conflicting decisions, effectively barring the party from subsequently seeking a remedy from the other tribunal.[6]

III. Debt Recovery and Tribunals: In cases involving debt recovery and tribunals, such as Transcore Vs. Union of India,[7] the doctrine takes on a different dimension. Its applicability hinges on whether remedies are viewed as complementary rather than conflicting. The court in Transcore Vs. Union of India concluded that the remedies provided by the two jurisdictions are different in nature, allowing the pursuit of parallel proceedings.

IV. Competition Act: 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. The case of Ankur Exports Pvt. Ltd Vs. Monopolies and Restricted Trade Practices Commission[8] highlighted that the principle of election of remedies cannot be applied to deny parallel proceedings if explicitly permitted by the Act.

V. Matrimonial Cases: Matrimonial cases present a context where the doctrine is applied judiciously to ensure fairness and equity. Various cases, such as Shri Jagmohan Kashyap vs. Nct of Delhi[9] & Anr, Rajnesh v. Neha,[10] Mamta Bhardwaj v. Vinod Kumar Bharadwaj,[11] and Bhagyashree v. Purshottam,[12] exemplify the nuanced approach courts adopt when dealing with maintenance claims under different statutes. These instances set forth principles to prevent jurisdiction overlap and contradictory directives.

VI. Industrial Disputes Act: Adding a layer of intricacy to the Doctrine of Election of Remedies, the Industrial Disputes Act raises complexity. In the case of Syndicate Bank vs. Vincent Robert Lobo,[13] the question arose regarding the simultaneous pursuit of remedies under the Industrial Disputes Act and a civil suit. 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: In cases involving the NPA Act and Arbitration Act, the Supreme Court, in Indiabulls Housing Finance Limited V. Deccan Chronicle,[14] emphasized the flexibility of the Doctrine of Election of Remedies when remedies are not inherently inconsistent. However, the case of Vidya Drolia vs. Durga[15] Trading Corporation presented a contradictory decree, stating that the litigant can’t exercise the doctrine of election of remedies to select arbitration as an alternative remedy if it’s inconsistent with mandatory and special statutes.

VIII. RERA vs. CPA vs. IBC: 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.[16] The hierarchy established among these acts impacts the final verdict despite multiple available remedies. Cases like IREO Grace Realtech Pvt. Ltd. v. Abhishek Khanna[17] highlight that remedies provided under the RERA Act and the Consumer Protection Act are complementary rather than mutually exclusive.

Contradictory Stance Of MAHARERA

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, traversing 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.[19]

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 multifaceted and intricate terrain within the realm of legal disputes. Its dynamic nature is evident in its varied applications across different legislative frameworks. While it may initially seem labyrinthine, a deeper knowledge and understanding help unravel its intricacies, making it a navigable and strategic aspect of legal practice.

[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] IREO Grace Realtech Pvt. Ltd. v. Abhishek Khanna

[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.

King Stubb & Kasiva,
Advocates & Attorneys

Click Here to Get in Touch

New Delhi | Mumbai | Bangalore | Chennai | Hyderabad | Mangalore | Pune | Kochi | Kolkata
Tel: +91 11 41032969 | Email: