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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

Nature and Effect of Minor’s Contract
Mohiri Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose, ILR (1903) 30 Cal 539: 309, IA 114 (PC): 7 CWN 411 (PC)

By virtue of Section 11 of the Indian Contract Act, a minor is incompetent to contract. But this Act is conspicuously silent about the nature of a minor’s contract. It is thus not clear so to whether a minor’s contract is void or voidable.

Upto 1903 there was a great controversy among High Courts on Indian soil in this connection. This controversy was finally resolved by the Privy Council in 1903 in Mohiri Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose case.

The Privy Council declared that the minor’s contract was void and not merely voidable. The Privy Council reached this conclusion on the basis of Sections 10, 11, 183, 184, 246 and 247 of the Contract Act (Section 30 of the Partnership Act). The combined effect of these Sections, especially Sections 10 and 11 render the minor’s contract void.

In view of Privy Council Section 11 is not to be construed literally. It makes crystal clear that only a person who is the age of majority is competent to contract. Thus a minor’s contract is void ab initio and wholly void.

This Mohiri Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose case had originally been raised in a Partnership case but it relates to both partnership and contract issues.

Rules Regarding sharing of Loss between Solvent and Insolvent Partners
Garner v. Murray, (1904) 1 Ch 57

In 1900 three partners started a business of partnership viz. Garner, Murray and Wikkins with the agreement of sharing profits and losses equally. In 1930 Wikkins became insolvent. The conflict started regarding the share of loss proportionately between these three partners.

The major difficulty arose as one partner became insolvent and was unable to contribute his equal share of loss of capital. The solvent partners were not bound to contribute for him and accordingly there was deficiency in the capital available for distribution.

The Chancery Division of England ruled that the deficiency would be shared between the partners in the rate of their capital contribution but not equally and also not as per agreement of proportion of sharing the profits or losses.

Proposition of Law in Respect of Domicile in Matrimonial Cases
Attorney General for Alberta v. Cook, (1926) AC 444 (PC)

The identity of domicile of a wife with that of her husband is a legal fiction or presumption of law. The domicile depends upon the capacity in law of individuals to choose a permanent home. And when this capacity exists in a wife by reason of judicial separation, then such right from domicile results in her favour.

Rule for Bail in Case Relating to Official Secrets Act of 1923 and Military Affairs
State v. Jagjit Singh, AIR 1962 SC 253

In this matter of concern the Supreme Court had ruled that, the Court should exercise a greater degree of care in enlarging on bail to an accused who is charged with the offence punishable under the Official Secrets Act of 1923 when it relates to military affairs and State security and secrecy.

Power of Relief by Supreme Court

A.R. Antulay v. R.S. Nayak, AIR 1988 SC 1531

The power of relief by Supreme Court can be traced out either to Article 142 of
Constitution of India or general power inherited upon it as the guardian of Constitution.

The factors of relief:
    (i) Where there is some manifest illegality;
    (ii) Where there is manifest want of jurisdiction;
    (iii) When some pulpable injustice is resulted.


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