Case study on Mohori Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose
(1903)30 Cal 539 (Pc)
Sir Ford North,
Sir Andrew Wilson,
And Sir Andrew Scoble
This case (Mohori Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose) covers the scope of the minors agreement. This case basically deals with a contract entered with a minor (a person who is below the age of 18 yrs or any person who has not completed 18yrs of age legally). The defendant was not satisfied with the verdict of the trial court therefore; he filed an appeal in the Calcutta high court. And later he also went to Privy Council where Privy Council also dismissed the appeal and held the judgment in favor of Dharmodas Ghose.
Facts of Mohori Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose
In this well-known case the respondent, Dharmodas Ghose was a minor and he was the sole proprietor of his resolute property. Along these lines, his mom was approved as his lawful overseer by Calcutta high court. The plaintiff, Dharmodas Ghose, while he was a minor, mortgaged his property for the defendant, Brahmo Dutt, who was a moneylender to make sure about an advance of Rs. 20,000. The real measure of credit given was not as much as Rs. 20,000.
At the hour of the exchange the lawyer, who followed up for the benefit of the cash loan specialist, had the information that the plaintiff is a minor. Dharmodas Ghose’s mom sent a warning to Brahmo Dutta educating him about the minority regarding Dharmodas Ghose on the date on which such mortgage deed was started.
From that point forward, on 10thSept. 1895 Dharmodas Ghose alongside his mom brought a legitimate suit or activity against Brahmo Dutta by saying that the mortgage that was executed by Dharmodas was initiated when he was a minor thus such mortgage was void and unbalanced or inappropriate and because of which such agreement ought to be renounced. At the point when this request or guarantee was in process, Brahmo Dutta had kicked the bucket and afterward, further, the intrigue or appeal was disputed or arraigned by his executor’s.
The plaintiff contended or went up against that in such case no relaxation or any looked for of help ought to be given to them on the grounds that as indicated by him, the defendant had misleadingly or unscrupulously confounded the reality about his age and in such a case that mortgage is dropped at the solicitation by the defendant, for example, Dharmodas Ghose.
CASES IN ARGUMENT:
Thurston v. Nottingham Permanent Benefit Building Society [L. R. (1902)1 Ch. 1 (1901)
- Whether the deed was void under section 2, 10, 11, of Indian Contract Act, 1872 or not?
- Whether the defendant was liable to return the amount of loan which he had received by him under such deed or mortgage or not?
- Whether the mortgage commenced by the defendant was voidable or not?
Brahmo Dutt and his agents, Mr. Kedar and Mr. Dedraj possessed knowledge of the respondent’s actual age. Since the respondent was a minor at the time of executing the mortgage, the contract is void.
The appellant argued that the respondent was a major when he executed the mortgage neither the appellant nor his agent had any notice that the respondent as a minor. That the respondent made a fraudulent declaration regarding his age and is hence disentitled from seeking any relief. The knowledge of the respondent’s actual age which Mr. Kedar Nath Mitter possessed should not be imputed to the appellants as Mr. Dedraj acted as the agent of Brahmo Dutt in this transaction.
The respondent is stopped by section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 from claiming that he was a minor at the time of executing the mortgage. The respondent must repay the amount advanced according to section 64 and 38 of the Indian Contract Act (1872); and section 41 of the Specific Relief Act (1877). The Indian Contract Act (1872) does not deal with contracts by minors.
Judgement in Mohori Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose
Mr. Mitter and Mr. Dedraj acted as Brahmo Dutt’s as an authorized agent in the transaction. Hence, their Lordship held that the knowledge of the Dharmodas Ghose possessed by Mitter was directly imputed to Brahmo Dutt. The final decision was passed by Privy Council. The final judgment was:
Any contract with a minor or infant is void ab intio (void from beginning) and since minor was incompetent to make such mortgage hence the contract commenced shall also be void and is not valid in the eyes of law. The minor Dharmod as Ghosh in this case cannot be forced to give back the amount of money that was advanced to him, because he was not bound by the promise that was executed in a contract. Their Lordships held that when there was no question of the creation of a contract on account of one of the parties being a minor, the question of whether such a contract is void or voidable does not arise at all as the contract itself is void ab initio.
Significance of Mohori Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose
This case played a huge role in building up the law of minor entering into the contract and established the framework for the advanced act of entering into the contract with a minor. This case is referred to as the main case in the precedent-based law related to a contract with a minor. It established the law that any agreement with an infant cannot be administered against them.
In cases, parent’s of minors or custodians shall not be liable where the dealing is done by the minor without their consent or knowledge, and therefore they will not be liable to return the amount taken by the minor out of the moral obligations. But parents and guardians will be liable to repay back the amount when minor or an infant acted with the consent of his/her parents or his/ her custodians. If any minor has got any profit out of the void contact that he/she cannot be forced to reimburse it back or make compensation for it.
The impacts of this judgment despite everything still felt today. It gives a superb study of the essential standards.
Author: Sanidhya Pateriya,
School of Law, Jagran Lakecity University/ 1st year