Author: Neetika Kalakar & Ritesh Singh Shekhawat, students at Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phoole University, Jaipur


Property disputes are among the most intricate and contentious legal battles, often involving intricate contractual obligations, competing claims, and complex legal principles. The case of Nanak Builders v. Sawhneys, recently adjudicated in the Indian judicial system, provides a compelling illustration of the complexities inherent in property litigation. This article delves into the facts, legal issues, and implications of this significant case, shedding light on the challenges faced by litigants and the judicial approach to resolving disputes in the realm of property law.


Thomson Press (India) Ltd Vs Nanak Builders & Investrs.P.Ltd & Ors

Citations: AIR 2013 SUPREME COURT 2389, 2013 (5) SCC 397, 2013 AIR SCW 1617

The dispute in Nanak Builders v. Sawhneys revolves around a property located in the prime commercial area of Connaught Place, New Delhi. The plaintiff, M/s Nanak Builders and Investors Pvt. Ltd., initiated legal proceedings against the defendants, the Sawhneys, seeking specific performance of an agreement purportedly entered into in 1986. According to the plaintiff, the defendants failed to honor their contractual obligations under the agreement, prompting the need for judicial intervention.

The crux of the plaintiff’s claim lies in the alleged breach of contract by the defendants, who purportedly failed to vacate the premises and fulfill their payment obligations as per the agreement. Additionally, the plaintiff contends that despite repeated attempts to secure the balance consideration owed under the agreement, the defendants evaded their obligations, necessitating legal action to enforce the contract.


The legal proceedings in Nanak Builders v. Sawhneys unfolded against a backdrop of complex legal issues and procedural challenges. Central to the dispute was the applicability of the doctrine of lis pendens, which regulates property transactions during ongoing litigation. The plaintiff sought to enforce its rights under the agreement despite the pendency of legal proceedings, while the defendants contested the validity of the agreement and the plaintiff’s entitlement to relief.

A crucial aspect of the case pertains to the involvement of a third party, Living Media India Limited (LMI), which expressed interest in leasing the property from the defendants. This led to a separate legal dispute between LMI and the defendants, resulting in a court order prohibiting the defendants from transferring or alienating the property pending resolution of the dispute. Despite the injunction, the defendants executed sale deeds in favor of the appellant, M/s Thomson Press (India) Limited, prompting the appellant’s application for impleadment in the ongoing suit.


The judicial analysis in Nanak Builders v. Sawhneys involved a comprehensive examination of relevant legal principles, including contractual rights, property law, and procedural rules governing civil litigation. The courts grappled with the interplay between the rights of the parties, the validity of property transactions during ongoing litigation, and the scope of impleadment under the Civil Procedure Code.

Ultimately, the appellate court ruled in favor of the appellant, allowing their appeal and ordering their addition as a party-defendant in the ongoing suit for specific performance. The court’s decision reflected a nuanced understanding of the legal issues at hand and underscored the judiciary’s commitment to upholding substantive justice and fairness in property disputes.


The case of Nanak Builders v. Sawhneys serves as a compelling case study of the complexities inherent in property litigation. It highlights the challenges faced by litigants in navigating intricate legal terrain and underscores the importance of legal research, advocacy, and judicial interpretation in resolving contentious disputes. Moreover, the case underscores the need for clarity and consistency in the application of legal principles governing property transactions, ensuring equitable outcomes and upholding the rule of law.

In conclusion, Nanak Builders v. Sawhneys exemplifies the intricacies of property disputes and the pivotal role of the judiciary in adjudicating such matters. By delving into the facts, legal issues, and implications of this significant case, this article provides valuable insights into the complexities of property litigation and the evolving legal landscape in India

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