This Act may be called the Indian Contract Act, 1872.
Extent, Commencement. -It extends to the whole of India 1[except the State of Jammu and Kashmir]; and it shall come into force on the first day of September 1872.
Saving.- 2[* *
*] Nothing herein contained shall affect the provisions of any Statute, Act or Regulation not hereby expressly repealed, nor any usage or custom of
1. Subs. by Act 3 of 1951, sec. 3 and Sch., for “except Part B States”.
In this Act the following words and expressions are used in the following senses, unless contrary intention appears from the context:
(a) When one person signifies to another his willingness to do or to abstain from doing anything, with aview to
obtaining the assent of that other to such act or abstinence, he is said to
(b) When a person to whom the proposal is made, signifies his assent thereto, the proposal is said to be accepted. A proposal, when a accepted, becomes a promise;
(c) The person
(d) When, at the desire of the promisor, the promisee or any other person has done or abstained from doing, or does or abstains from doing, or promises to do or to abstain from doing, something, such act or abstinence or promise is called a consideration for the promise;
(e) Every promise and every set of promises, forming the consideration for each other, is an agreement;
(f) Promises which form the consideration or part of the consideration for each other, are called reciprocal promises;
(g) An agreement not enforceable by law is said to be void;
(h) An agreement enforceable by law is a contract;
(j) A contract which ceases to be enforceable by law becomes void when it ceases to be enforceable.
The communication of proposals, the acceptance of proposals, and the revocation of proposals and acceptance, respectively, are deemed to be made by any act or omission of the
The communication of a proposal is complete when it comes to the knowledge of the person to whom it is made.
The communication of an acceptance is complete,—
as against the proposer, when it is put in a course of transmission to him so as to be out of the power of the acceptor;
as against the acceptor, when it comes to the knowledge of the proposer.
The communication of a revocation is complete,—
as against the person who makes it, when it is put into a course of transmission to the person to whom it is made, so as to be out of the power of the person who makes it; as against the person to whom it is made, when it comes to his knowledge.
(a) A proposes, by letter, to sell a house to B at a certain price.
The communication of the proposal is complete when B receives the letter.
(b) B accepts A’s proposal by a letter sent by post.
The communication of the acceptance is complete,
as against A when the letter is posted;
as against B, when the letter is received by A.
(c) A revokes his proposal by telegram.
The revocation is complete as against A when the telegram is despatched.
It is complete as against B when B receives it.
B revokes his acceptance by telegram. B’s revocation is complete as against B when the telegram is despatched, and as against A when it reaches him.
A proposal may be revoked at any time before the communication of its acceptance is complete as against the proposer, but not afterwards.
An acceptance may be revoked at any time before the communication of the acceptance is complete as against the acceptor, but no afterwards.
A proposes, by a letter sent by post, to sell his house to B.
B accepts the proposal by a letter sent by post.
A may revoke his proposal at any time before or at the moment when B posts his letter of acceptance, but not afterwards.
B may revoke his acceptance at any time before or at the moment when the letter communicating it reaches A, but not afterwards.
A proposal is revoked -
(1) by the communication of notice of revocation by the proposer to the other party;
(2) by the lapse of the time prescribed in such proposal for its acceptance, or, if no time is so prescribed, by the lapse of a reasonable time, without communication of the acceptance;
(3) by the failure of the acceptor to fulfil a condition precedent to acceptance; or
(4) by the death or insanity of the proposer, if the fact of the death or insanity comes to the knowledge of theacceptor before acceptance.
In order to convert a proposal into a promise the acceptance must -
(1) be absolute and unqualified.
(2) be expressed in some usual and reasonable manner, unless the proposal prescribes the manner in which it is to be accepted. If the proposal prescribes a manner in which it is to be accepted; and the acceptance is not made in such manner, the proposer may, within a reasonable time after the acceptance is communicated to him, insist that his proposal shall be accepted in the prescribed manner, and not otherwise; but; if he fails to do so, he accepts the acceptance.
Performance of the conditions of proposal, for the acceptance of any consideration for a reciprocal promise which may be offered with a proposal, is an acceptance of the proposal.
In so far as the proposal or acceptance of any promise is made in words, the promise is said to be express. In so far as such proposal or acceptance is made otherwise than in words, the promise is said to be implied.
All agreements are contracts if they are made by the free consent of parties competent to contract, for a lawful consideration and with a lawful object, and are not hereby expressly declared to be void.
Nothing herein contained shall affect any law in force in 1India, and not hereby expressly repealed, by which any contract is required to be made in writing 2or in the presence of witnesses, or any law relating to the registration of documents.
1. Subs. by Act 3 of 1951, sec. 3 and Sch., for “Part A States and Part C States”. Earlier the words “Part A States and Part C States” were substituted by the A.O. 1950, for the words “the Provinces”.
2. See e.g., sec. 25, the Copyright Act, 1957 (14 of 1957), section 19, the Carriers Act, 1865 (3 of 1865) sections 6 and 7; the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) sections 12, 30, 46 and 109.
Every person is competent to contract who is of the age of majority according to the law to which he is subject, and who is sound mind and is not disqualified from contracting by any law to which he is subject.
1. See the Indian Majority Act, 1875 (9 of 1875).
A person is said to be of sound mind for the propose of making a contract, if, at the time when he makes it, he is capable of understanding it and of forming a rational judgement as to its effect upon his interest.A person who is usually of unsound mind, but occasionally of sound mind, may make a contract when he is of sound mind. A person who is usually of sound mind, but occasionally of unsound mind, may not make a contract when he is of unsound mind.
(a) A patient in a lunatic asylum, who is, at intervals, of sound mind, may contract during those intervals.
(b) A sane man, who is delirious from fever, or who is so drunk that he cannot understand the terms of a contract, or form a rational judgment as to its effect on his interests, cannot contract whilst such delirium or drunkenness lasts.
Two or more person are said to consent when they agree upon the same thing in the same sense.
Consent is said to be free when it is not caused by -
(1) coercion, as defined in section 15, or
(2) undue influence, as defined in section 16, or
(3) fraud, as defined in section 17, or
(4) misrepresentation, as defined in section 18, or
(5) mistake, subject to the provisions of section 20,21, and 22.
Consent is said to be so caused when it would not have been given but for the existence of such coercion, undue influence, fraud, misrepresentation, or mistake.
“Coercion” is the committing, or threating to commit, any act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or the unlawful detaining, or threatening to detain, any property, to the prejudice of any person whatever, with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement.
A, on board an English ship on the high seas, causes B to enter into an agreement by an act amounting to criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
A afterwards sues B for breach of contract at Calcutta.
A has employed coercion, although his act is not an offence by the law of England, and although section 506 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) was not in force at the time when or place where the act was done.
1[16.‘Undue influence’ defined.—(1) A contract is said to be induced by “under influence” where the relations subsisting between the parties are such that one of the parties is in a position to dominate the will of the other and uses that position to obtain an unfair advantage over the other.
(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generally of the foregoing principle, a person is deemed to be in a position to dominate the will of another -
(a) where he hold a real or apparent authority over the other, or where he stands in a fiduciary relation to the other; or
(b) where he makes a contract with a person whose mental capacity is temporarily or permanently affected by reason of age, illness, or mental or bodily distress.
(3) Where a person who is in a position to dominate the will of another, enters into a contract with him, and the transaction appears, on the face of it or on the evidence adduced, to be unconscionable, the burden of proving that such contract was not induced by undue influence shall be upon the person in a position to dominate the will of the other.
Nothing in the sub-section shall affect the provisions of section 111 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872)
(a) A having advanced money to his son, B, during his minority, upon B’s coming of age obtains, by misuse of parental influence, a bond from B for a greater amount than the sum due in respect of the advance. A employs undue influence.
(b) A, a man enfeebled by disease or age, is induced, by B’s influence over him as his medical attendant, to agree to pay B an unreasonable sum for his professional services, B employes undue influence.
(c) A, being in debt to B, the money-lender of his village, contracts a fresh loan on terms which appear to be unconscionable. It lies on B to prove that the contract was not induced by undue influence.
(d) A applies to a banker for a loan at a time when there is stringency in the money market. The banker declines to make the loan except at an unusually high rate of interest. A accepts the loan on these terms. This is a transaction in the ordinary course of business, and the contract is not induced by undue influence.]
1. Subs. by Act 6 of 1899, sec. 2, for section 16.
“Fraud” means and includes any of the following acts committed by a party to a contract, or with his connivance, or by his agents,1 with intent to deceive another party thereto his agent, or to induce him to enter into the contract;
(1) the suggestion as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who does not believe it to be true;
(2) the active concealment of a fact by one having knowledge or belief of the fact;
(3) a promise made without any intention of performing it;
(4) any other act fitted to deceive;
(5) any such act or omission as the law specially declares to be fraudulent.
Explanation.—Mere silence as to facts likely to affect the willingness of a person to enter into a contract is not fraud, unless the circumstances of the case are such that, regard being had to them, it is the duty of the person keeping silence to speak2, or unless his silence, is, in itself, equivalent to speech.
(a) A sells, by auction, to B, a horse which A knows to be unsound. A says nothing to B about the horse’s unsoundness. This is not fraud in A.
(b) B is A’s daughter and has just come of age. Here the relation between the parties would make it A’s duty to tell B if the horse is unsound.
(c) B says to A—‘‘If you do not deny it, I shall assume that the horse is sound”. A says nothing. Here, A’s silence is equivalent to speech.
(d) A and B, being traders, enter upon a contract. A has private information of a change in prices which would affect B’s willingness to proceed with the contract. A is not bound to inform B.
1. Cf. section 238, infra.
2. See section 143, infra.
“Misrepresentation” means and includes -
(1) the positive assertion, in a manner not warranted by the information of the person making it, of that whichis not true, though he believes it to be true;
(2) any breach of duty which, without an intent to deceive, gains an advantage to the person committing it, or anyone claiming under him; by misleading another to his prejudice, or to the prejudice of any one claiming under him;
(3) causing, however innocently, a party to an agreement, to make a mistake as to the substance of the thing which is subject of the agreement.
When consent to an agreement is caused by coercion, 1fraud or misrepresentation, the agreement is a contract voidable at the option of the party whose consent was so caused. A party to contract, whose consent was caused by fraud or mispresentation, may, if he thinks fit, insist that the contract shall be performed, and that he shall be put on the position in which he would have been if the representations made had been true.
Exception : If such consent was caused by misrepreentation or by silence, fraudulent within the meaning of section 17, the contract, neverthless, is not voidable, if the party whose consent was so caused had the means of discovering the truth with ordinary diligence.
Explanation : A fraud or misrepresentation which did not cause the consent to a contract of the party on whom such fraud was practised, or to whom such misrepresentation was made, does not render a contract voidable.
(a) A, intending to deceive B, falsely represents that five hundred maunds of indigo are made annually at A’s factory, and thereby induces B to buy the factory. The contract is voidable at the option of B.
(b) A, by a misrepresentation, leads B erroneously to believe that five hundred maunds of indigo are made annually at A’s factory. B examines the accounts of the factory, which show that only four hundred maunds of indigo have been made. After this B buys the factory. The contract is not voidable on account of A’s misrepresentation.
(c) A fraudulently informs B that A’s estate is free from incumbrance. B thereupon buys the estate. The estate is subject to a mortgage. B may either avoid the contract, or may insist on its being carried out and mortgage-debt redeemed.
(d) B, having discovered a vein of ore on the estate of A, adopts means to conceal, and does conceal the existence of the ore from A. Through A’s ignorance B is enabled to buy the estate at an under-value. The contract is voidable at the option of A.
(e) A is entitled to succeed to an estate at the death of B; B dies: C, having received intelligence of B’s death, prevents the intelligence reaching A, and thus induces A to sell him his interest in the estate. The sale is voidable at the option of A.
1. The words “undue influence” rep. by Act 6 of 1899, sec. 3.
When consent to an agreement is caused by undue influence, the agreement is a contract voidable at the option of the party whose consent was so caused.
Any such contract may be set aside either absolutely or, if the party who was entitled to avoid it has received any benefit thereunder, upon such terms and conditions as to the Court may seem just.
(a) A’s son has forged B’s name to a promissory note. B under threat of prosecuting A’s son, obtains a bond from A for the amount of the forged note. If B sues on this bond, the Court may set the bond aside.
(b) A, a money-lender, advances Rs. 100 to B, an agriculturist, and, by undue influence, induces B to execute a bond for Rs. 200 with interest at 6 per cent. per month. The Court may set the bond aside, ordering B to repay the Rs. 100 with such interest as may seem just.]
1. Ins. by Act 6 of 1899, sec. 3.
Where both the parties to an agreement are under a mistake as to a matter of fact essential to the agreement the agreement is void.
Explanation.—An erroneous opinion as to the value of the thing which forms the subject-matter of the agreement, is not to be deemed a mistake as to a matter of fact.
(a) A agrees to sell to B a specific cargo of goods supposed to be on its way from England to Bombay. It turns out that, before the day of the bargain the ship conveying the cargo had been cast away and the goods lost. Neither party was aware of these facts. The agreement is void.
(b) A agrees to buy from B a certain horse. It turns out that the horse was dead at the time of the bargain, though neither party was aware of the fact. The agreement is void.
(c) A, being entitled to an estate for the life of B, agrees to sell it to C, B was dead at the time of agreement, but both parties were ignorant of the fact. The agreement is void.
A contract is not voidable because it was caused by a mistake as to any law in force in 1India; but mistake as to a law not in force in India has the same effect as a mistake of fact.
A and B make a contract grounded on the erroneous belief that a particular debt is barred by the Indian Law of Limitation; the contract is not voidable.
1. The original words “British India” have successively been amended by the A.O. 1948 and the A.O. 1950 to read as above.
2. Paragraph 2 omitted by the A.O. 1950. Earlier paragraph 2 was inserted by the A.O. 1937.
3. The second Illustration rep. by Act 24 of 1917, sec. 3 and Sch. II
A contract is not voidable merely because it was caused by one of the parties to it being under a mistake as to a matter of fact.
The consideration or object of an agreement is lawful, unless -It is forbidden by law; oris of such nature that, if permitted it would defeat the provisions of any law or is fraudulent; ofinvolves or implies, injury to the person or property of another; orthe Court regards it as immoral, or opposed to public policy.
In each of these cases, the consideration or object of an agreement is said to be unlawful. Every agreement of which the object or consideration is unlawful is void.
(a) A agrees to sell his house to B for 10,000 rupees. Here, B’s promise to pay the sum of 10,000 rupees is the consideration for A’s promise to sell the house and A’s promise to sell the house is the consideration for B’s promise to pay the 10,000 rupees. These are lawful considerations.
(b) A promises to pay B 1,000 rupees at the end of six months, if C, who owes that sum to B, fails to pay it. B promises to grant time to C accordingly. Here, the promise of each party is the consideration for the promise of the other party, and they are lawful considerations.
(c) A promises, for a certain sum paid to him by B, to make good to B the value of his ship if it is wrecked on a certain voyage. Here, A’s promise is the consideration for B’s payment, and B’s payment is the consideration for A’s promise, and these are lawful considerations.
(d) A promises to maintain B’s child, and B promises to pay A 1,000 rupees yearly for the purpose. Here, the promise of each party is the consideration for the promise of the other party. They are lawful considerations.
(e) A, B and C enter into an agreement for the division among them of gains acquired or to be acquired, by them by fraud. The agreement is void, as its object is unlawful.
(f) A promises to obtain for B an employment in the public service and B promises to pay 1,000 rupees to A. The agreement is void, as the consideration for it is unlawful.
(g) A, being agent for a landed proprietor, agrees for money, without the knowledge of his principal, to obtain for B a lease of land belonging to his principal. The agreement between A and B is void, as it implies a fraud by concealment, by A, on his principal.
(h) A promises B to drop a prosecution which he has instituted against B for robbery, and B promises to restore the value of the things taken. The agreement is void, as its object is unlawful.
(i) A’s estate is sold for arrears of revenue under the provisions of an Act of the Legislature, by which the defaulter is prohibited from purchasing the estate. B, upon an understanding with A, becomes the purchaser, and agrees to convey the estate to A upon receiving from him the price which B has paid. The agreement is void, as it renders the transaction, in effect, a purchase by the defaulter and would so defeat the object of the law.
(j) A, who is B’s mukhtar, promises to exercise his influence, as such, with B in favour of C, and C promises to pay 1,000 rupees to A. The agreement is void, becuase it is immoral.
(k) A agrees to let her daughter to hire to B for concubinage. The agreement is void, because it is immoral, though the letting may not be punishable under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
1. See sections 26, 27, 28 and 30, infra.
If any part of a single consideration for one or more objects, or any one or any part of any one of several consideration of a single object, is unlawful, the agreement is void.
A promises to superintend, on behalf of B, a legal manufacturer of indigo, and an illegal traffic in other articles. B promises to pay to A a salary of 10,000 rupees a year. The agreement is void, the object of A’s promise, and the consideration for B’s promise, being in part unlawful.
An agreement made without consideration is void, unless -
(1) it is expressed in writing and registered under the law for the time being in force for the registration of1documents, and is made on account of natural love and affection between parties standing in a near relation to each other; or unless.
(2) it is a promise to compensate, wholly or in part, a person who has already voluntarily done something for the promisor, or something which the promisor was legally compellable to do; or unless.
(3) it is a promise, made in writing and signed by the person to be charged therewith or by his agent generally or specially authorised in that behalf, to pay wholly or in part debt of which the creditor might have enforced payment but for the law for the limitation of suits. In any of these cases, such an agreement is a contract.
Explanation 1 : Nothing in this section shall affect the validity, as between the donor and donee, of any gift actually made.
Explanation 2 : An agreement to which the consent of the promisor is freely given is not void merely because the consideration is inadequate; but the inadequacy of the consideration may be taken into account by the Court in determining the question whether the consent of the promisor was freely given.
(a) A promises, for no consideration, to give to B Rs. 1,000. This is a void agreement.
(b) A, for natural love and affection, promises to give his son, B, Rs. 1,000. A puts his promise to B into writing and registers it. This is a contract.
(c) A finds B’s purse and gives it to him. B promises to give A Rs. 50. This is a contract.
(d) A supports B’s infant son. B promises to pay A’s expenses in so doing. This is a contract.
(e) A owes B Rs. 1,000, but the debt is barred by the Limitation Act. A signs a written promise to pay B Rs. 500 on account of the debt. This is a contract.
(f) A agrees to sell a horse worth Rs. 1,000 for Rs. 10. A’s consent to the agreement was freely given. The agreement is a contract notwithstanding the inadequacy of the consideration.
(g) A agrees to sell a horse worth Rs. 1,000 for Rs. 10. A denies that his consent to the agreement was freely given.
The inadequacy of the consideration is a fact which the Court should take into account in considering whether or not A’s consent was freely given.
1. Subs. by Act 12 of 1891, sec. 2 and Sch. II, Pt. I, for “assurances”.
Every agreement in restraint of the marriage of any person, other than a minor, is void.
Every agreement by which anyone is restrained from exercising a lawful profession, trade or business of any kind, is to that extent void.
Exception 1 : Saving of agreement not to carry on business of which good will is sold – One who sells the goodwill of a business may agree with the buyer to refrain from carrying on a similar business, within specified local limits, so long as the buyer, or any person deriving title to the goodwill from him, carries on a like business therein, provided that such limits appear to the court reasonable, regard being had to the nature of the business.
1.Exceptions 2 and 3 rep. by Act 9 of 1932, sec. 73 and Sch. II.
1[***]Every agreement, by which any party thereto is restricted absolutely from enforcing his rights under or in respect of any contract, by the usual legal proceedings in the ordinary tribunals, or which limits the time within which he may thus enforce his rights, is void to the extent.
Exception 1 : Saving of contract to refer to arbitration dispute that may arise.This section shall not render illegal contract, by which two or more persons agree that any dispute which may arise between them in respect of any subject or class of subject shall be referred to arbitration, and that only and amount awarded in such arbitration shall be recoverable in respect of the dispute so referred.
Exception 2: Saving of contract to refer question that have already arisen – Nor shall this section render illegal any contract in writing, by which two or more persons agree to refer to arbitration any question between them which has already arisen, or affect any provision of any law in force for the time being as to reference to arbitration. 3
1. Subs. by Act 1 of 1997, sec. 2, for certain words (w.e.f. 8-1-1997).
2. The second clause of Exception 1 rep. by Act 1 of 1877, sec. 2 and Sch.
3. Cf. the Arbitration Act, 1940 (10 of 1940) and the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), section 389.
Agreements, the meaning of which is not certain, or capable of being made certain, are void.
(a) A agrees to sell B “a hundred tons of oil”. There is nothing whatever to show what kind of oil was intended. The agreement is void for uncertainty.
(b) A agrees to sell B one hundred tons of oil of a specified description, known as an article of commerce. There is no uncertainty here to make the agreement void.
(c) A, who is a dealer in coconut-oil only, agrees to sell to B “one hundred tons of oil”. The nature of A’s trade affords an indication of the meaning of the words, and A has entered into a contract for the sale of one hundred tons of coconut-oil.
(d) A agrees to sell B “all the grain in my granary at Ramnagar”. There is no uncertainty here to make the agreement void.
(e) A agrees to sell to B “one thousand maunds of rice at a price to be fixed by C”. As the price is capable of being made certain, there is no uncertainty here to make the agreement void.
(f) A agrees to sell to B “my white horse for rupees five hundred or rupees one thousand”. There is nothing to show which of the two prices was to be given. The agreement is void.
Agreements by way of wager are void; and no suit shall be brought for recovering anything alleged to be won on any wager, or entrusted to any person to abide the result of any game or other uncertain event on which may wager is made. Exception on favour of certain prizes for horse-racing: This section shall not be deemed to render unlawful a subscription or contribution, or agreement to subscribe or contribute, made or entered into for or toward any plate, prize or sum of money, of the value or amount of five hundred rupees or upwards, to be rewarded to the winner or winners of any horse-race.
Section 294A of the Indian Penal Code not affected : Nothing in this section shall be deemed to legalize any transaction connected with horse-racing, to which the provisions of section 294A of the(45 of 1860) apply.
A “contingent contract” is a contract to do or not to do something, if some event, collateral to such contract, does or does not happen.
A contracts to pay to B Rs.10,000 if B’s house is burnt. This is a contingent contract.
Contingent contracts to do or not to do anything in an uncertain future event happens, cannot be enforced by law unless and until that event has happened. If the event becomes impossible, such contracts become void.
(a) A makes a contract with B to buy B’s horse if A survives C. This contract cannot be enforced by law unless and until C dies in A’s lifetime.
(b) A makes a contract with B to sell a horse to B at a specified price, if C, to whom the horse has been offered, refuses to buy him. The contract cannot be enforced by law unless and until C refuses to buy the horse.
(c) A contracts to pay B a sum of money when B marries C. C dies without being married to B. The contract becomes void.
Contingent contracts to do or not to do anything if an uncertain future event does not happen, can be enforced when the happening of that event becomes impossible, and not before.
A agrees to pay B a sum of money if a certain ship does not return. The ship is sunk. The contract can be enforced when the ship sinks.
If the future event on which a contract is contingent is the way in which a person will act at an unspecified time, the event shall be considered to become impossible when such person does anything which renders it impossible that the should so act within any definite time, or otherwise than under further contingencies.
A agrees to pay B a sum of money if B marries C, C marries D. The marriage of B to C must now be considered impossible, although it is possible that D may die and that C may afterwards marry B.
Contingent contracts to do or not to do anything, if a specified uncertain event happens within a fixed time, become void, if, at the expiration of the time fixed, such event has not happened, or if, before the time fixed, such event becomes impossible.
When contracts may be enforced, which are contingent on specified event not happening within fixed time : Contingent contract tutu or not to do anything, if a specified uncertain event does not happen within a fixed time, may be enforced by law when the time fixed has expired and such event has not happened, or before the time fixed has expired, if it become certain that such event will not happen.
(a) A promises to pay B a sum of money if a certain ship returns within a year. The contract may be enforced if the ship returns within the year; and becomes void if the ship is burnt within the year.
(b) A promises to pay B a sum of money if a certain ship does not return within a year. The contract may be enforced if the ship does not return within the year, or is burnt within the year.
Contingent agreements to do or not to do anything, if an impossible event happens, are void, whether the impossibility of the event is known or not to the parties to agreement at the time when it is made.
(a) A agrees to pay B 1,000 rupees if two straight lines should enclose a space. The agreement is void.
(b) A agrees to pay B 1,000 rupees if B will marry A’s daughter C. C was dead at the time of the agreement. The agreement is void.
The parties to a contract must either perform, or offer to perform, their respective promises, unless such performance in dispensed with or excused under the provision of this Act, or of any other law.
Promises bind the representative of the promisor in case of the death of such promisors before performance, unless a contrary intention appears from the contract.
(a) A promises to deliver goods to B on a certain day on payment of Rs.1,000. A dies before that day. A’s representatives are bound to deliver the goods to B, and B is bound to pay the Rs. 1,000 to A’s representatives.
(b) A promises to paint a picture for B by a certain day, at a certain price. A dies before the day. The contract cannot be enforced either by A’s representatives or by B
Where a promisor has made an offer of performance to the promisee, and the offer has not been accepted, the promisor is not responsible for non-performance, nor does he thereby lose his rights under the contract.
Every such offer must fulfil the following conditions -
(1) it must be unconditional;
(2) it must be made at a proper time and place, and under such circumstances that the person to whom it is made may have a reasonable opportunity of ascertaining that the person by whom it is been made is able and willing there and then to do the whole of what he is bound by his promise to do;
(3) if the offer is an offer to deliver anything to the promisee, the promisee must have a reasonable opportunity of seeing that the thing offered is the thing which the promisor is bound by his promise to deliver. An offer to one of several joint promisees has the same legal consequences as an offer to all of them.
A contracts to deliver to B at his warehouse, on the 1st March, 1873, 100 bales of cotton of a particular quality. In order to make an offer of performance with the effect stated in this section. A must bring the cotton to B’s warehouse, on the appointed day, under such circumstances that B may have a reasonable opportunity of satisfying himself that the thing offered is cotton of the quality contracted for, and that there are 100 bales.
When a party to a contract has refused to perform, or disabled himself from performing, his promise in its entirety, the promisee may put an end to the contract,unless he has signified, by words or conduct, his acquiescence in its continuance
(a) A, a singer, enters into a contract with B, the manager of a theatre, to sing at his theatre two nights in every week during next two months, and B engages to pay her 100 rupees for each night’s performance. On the sixth night A wilfully absents herself from the theatre. B is at liberty to put an end to the contract.
(b) A, a singer, enters into a contract with B, the manager of a theatre, to sing at his theatre two nights in every week during next two months, and B engages to pay her at the rate of 100 rupees for each night. On the sixth night A wilfully absents herself. With the assent of B, A sings on the seventh night. B has signified his acquiescence in the continuance of the contract, and cannot now put an end to it, but is entitled to compensation for the damage sustained by him through A’s failure to sing on the sixth night.
If it appears from the nature of the case that it was the intention of the parties to any contract that any promise contain in it should be performed by the promisor himself, such promise must be performed by the promisor.
In other cases, the promisor or his representative may employ a competent person to perform it.
(a) A promises to pay B a sum of money. A may perform this promise, either by personally paying the money to B or by causing it to be paid to B by another; and, if A dies before the time appointed for payment, his representatives must perform the promise, or employ some proper person to do so.
(b) A promises to paint a picture for B. A must perform this promise personally.
When a promisee accepts performance of the promise from a third person, he cannot afterwards enforce it against the promisor.
When two or more person have made a joint promise, then, unless a contrary intention appears by the contract, all such persons, during their joint lives, and, after the death of any of them, his representative jointly with the survivor or survivors, and, after the death of the last survivor the representatives of all jointly, must fulfil the promise.
When two or more persons make a joint promise, the promise may, in the absence of express agreements to the contrary, compel any 1one or more of such joint promisors to perform the whole promise.
Each promisor may compel contribution : Each of two or more joint promisors may compel every other joint promisor to contribute equally with himself to the performance of the promise, unless a contrary intention appears from the contract.
Sharing of loss by default in contribution : If any one of two or more joint promisors make default in such contribution, the remaining joint promisors mus bear the loss arising from such default in equal shares.
Explanation : Nothing in this section shall prevent a surety from recovering, from his principal, payments made by the surety on behalf of the principal, or entitle the principal to recover anything from the surety on account of payments made by the principal.
(a) A, B and C jointly promise to pay D 3,000 rupees. D may compel either A or B or C to pay him 3,000 rupees.
(b) A, B and C jointly promise to pay D the sum of 3,000 rupees. C is compelled to pay the whole. A is insolvent, but his assets are sufficient to pay one-half of his debts. C is entitled to receive 500 rupees from A’s estate, and 1,250 rupees from B.
(c) A, B and C are under a joint promise to pay D 3,000 rupees. C is unable to pay anything, and A is compelled to pay the whole. A is entitled to receive 1,500 rupees from B.
(d) A, B and C are under a joint promise to pay D 3,000 rupees. A and B being only sureties for C. C fails to pay. A and B are compelled to pay the whole sum. They are entitled to recover it from C.
1. Subs. by Act 12 of 1891, sec. 2 and Sch. II Pt. I, for “one”.
Where two or more persons have made a joint promise, a release of one of such joint promisors by the promisee does not discharge the other joint promisor,neither does it free the joint promisor so released from responsibility to the other joint promisor or joint promisors.1
1. See section 138. infra.
When a person has made a promise to two or more persons jointly, then unless contrary intention appears from the contract, the right to claim performance rests, as between him and them, with them during their joint lives, and, after the death of any one of them, with the representative of such deceased person jointly with the survivor or survivors, and, after the death of the last survivor, with the representatives of all jointly.1
A, in consideration of 5,000 rupees lent to him by B and C, promises B and C jointly to repay them that sum with interest on a day specified. B dies. The right to claim performance rests with B’s representative jointly with C during C’s life, and after the death of C, with the representatives of B and C jointly.
1. For an exception to section 45 in case of Government securities, see the Public Debt Act, 1944 (18 of 1944), section 8.
Where, by the contract, a promisor is to perform his promise without application by the promisee, and no time for performance is specified, the engagement must be performed within a reasonable time.
Explanation : The question “what is a reasonable time” is, in each particular case, a question of fact.
When a promise is to be performed on a certain day, and the promisor has undertaken to perform it without the application by the promisee, the promisor may perform it at any time during the usual hours of business on such day and at the place at which the promise ought to be performed.
A promises to deliver goods at B’s warehouse on the first January. On the day A brings the goods to B’swarehouse, but after the usual hour closing it, and they are not received. A has not performed his promise.
When a promise is to be performed on a certain day, and the promisor has not undertaken to perform it without application by the promisee, it is the duty of the promisee to apply for the performance at a proper place within the usual hours of business.
Explanation : The question “what is proper time and place” is, in each particular case, a question of fact.
When a promise is to be performed without application by the promisee, and not place is fixed for the performance of it, it is the duty of the promisor to apply to the promisee to appoint a reasonable place for the performance of the promise, and to perform it at such a place.
A undertakes to deliver a thousand maunds of jute to B on a fixed day. A must apply to B to appoint a reasonable place for the purpose of receiving it, and must deliver it to him at such place.
The performance of any promise may be made in any manner, or at any time which the promisee prescribes or sanctions
(a) B owes A 2,000 rupees. A desires B to pay the amount to A’s account with C, a banker. B, who also banks with C, orders the amount to be transferred from his account to A’s credit, and this is done by C. Afterwards, and before A knows of the transfer, C fails. There has been a good payment by B.
(b) A and B are mutually indebted. A and B settle an account by setting off one item against another, and B pays A the balance found to be due from him upon such settlement. This amounts to a payment by A and B, respectively, of the sums which they owed to each other.
(c) A owes B 2,000 rupees. B accepts some of A’s goods in reduction of the debt. The delivery of the goods operates as a part payment.
(d) A desires B, who owes him Rs.100, to send him a note for Rs.100 by post. The debt is discharged as soon as B puts into the post a letter containing the note duly addressed to A.
When a contract consists of reciprocal promises to be simultaneously performed, no promisor need perform his promise unless the promisee is ready and willing to perform his reciprocal promise.
(a) A and B contract that A shall deliver goods to B to be paid for by B on delivery. A need not deliver the goods, unless B is ready and willing to pay for the goods on delivery.
B need not pay for the goods, unless A is ready and willing to deliver them on payment.
(b) A and B contract that A shall deliver goods to B at a price to be paid by instalments, the first instalment to be paid on delivery.
A need not deliver, unless B is ready and willing to pay the first instalment on delivery.
B need not pay the first instalment, unless A is ready and willing to deliver the goods on payment of the first instalment.
Where the order in which reciprocal promises are to be performed is expressly fixed by the contract, they shall be performed in that order, and where the orders is not expressly fixed by the contract, they shall be performed in that order which the nature of transaction requires.
(a) A and B contract that A shall build a house for B at a fixed price. A’s promise to build the house must be performed before B’s promise to pay for it.
(b) A and B contract that A shall make over his stock-in-trade to B at a fixed price, and B promise to give security for the payment of the money. A’s promise need not be performed until the security is given, for the nature of transaction requires that A should have security before he delivers up his stock.
When a contract contains reciprocal promises and one party to the contract prevents the other from performing his promise, the contract becomes voidable at the option of the party so prevented; and he is entitled to compensation 1from the other party for any loss which he may sustain in consequence of the non-performance of the contract.
A and B contract that B shall execute certain work for A for a thousand rupees. B is ready and willing to execute the work accordingly, but A prevents him from doing so. The contract is voidable at the option ofB; and, if he elects to rescind it, he is entitled to recover from A compensation for any loss which he has incurred by its non-performance.
1.See section 73, infra.
When a contract consists of reciprocal promises, such that one of them cannot be performed, or that its performance cannot be claimed till the other has been performed, and the promisor of the promise last mentioned fails to perform it, such promisor cannot claim the performance of the reciprocal promise, and must make compensation to the other party to the contract for any loss which such other party may sustain by the non-performance of the contract.
(a) A hires B’s ship to take in and convey, from Calcutta to the Mauritius, a cargo to be provided by A, B receiving a certain freight for its conveyance. A does not provide any cargo for the ship. A cannot claim the performance of B’s promise, and must take compensation to B for the loss which B sustains by the non-performance of the contract.
(b) A contracts with B to execute certain builder’s work for a fixed price, B supplying the scaffolding and timber necessary for the work. B refuses to furnish any scaffolding or timber, and the work cannot be executed. A need not execute the work, and B is bound to make compensation to A for any loss caused to him by the non-performance of the contract.
(c) A contracts with B to deliver to him, at a specified price, certain merchandise on board a ship which cannot arrive for a month, and B engages to pay for the merchandise within a week from the date of the contract. B does not pay within the week. A’s promise to deliver need not be performed, and B must make compensation.
(d) A promises B to sell him one hundred bales of merchandise, to be delivered next day, and B promises A to pay for them within a month. A does not deliver according to his promise. B’s promise to pay need not be performed, and A must make compensation.
When a party to a contract promises to do a certain thing at or before a specified time, or certain thins at or before a specified time and fails to do such thing at or before a specified time, and fails to do such thing at or before a specified time, the contract or so much of it as has not been performed, becomes voidable at the option of the promisee, if the intention of the parties was that time should be of essence of the contract.
Effect of such failure when time is not essential: If it was not the intention of the parties that time should be of the essence of the contract, the contract does not become voidable by the failure to do such thing at or before the specified time; but the promisee is entitled to compensation from the promisor for any loss occasioned to him by such failure.
Effect of acceptance of performance at time other than agreed upon: If, in case of a contract voidable on account of the promisor’s failure to perform his promise at the time agreed, the promisee accepts performance of such promise at any time other than agree, the promisee cannot claim compensation of any loss occasioned by the non-performance of the promise at the time agreed, unless, at the time of acceptance, he give notice to the promisor of his intention to do so.1
1. Cf. sections 62 and 63, infra.
An agreement to do an act impossible in itself is void. Contract to do act afterwards becoming impossible or unlawful: A contract to do an act which, after the contract is made, becomes impossible or, by reason of some event which the promisor could not prevent, unlawful, becomes void when the act becomes impossible or unlawful.1
Compensation for loss through non-performance of act known to be impossible or unlawful: Where one person has promised to be something which he knew or, with reasonable diligence, might have known, and which the promisee did not know to be impossible or unlawful, such promisor must make compensation to such promise for any loss which such promisee sustains through the non-performance of the promise.
(a) A agrees with B to discover treasure by magic. The agreement is void.
(b) A and B contract to marry each other. Before the time fixed for the marriage, A goes mad. The contract becomes void.
(c) A contracts to marry B, being already married to C, and being forbidden by the law to which he is subject to practise polygamy. A must make compensation to B for the loss caused to her by the non-performance of his promise.
(d) A contracts to take in cargo for B at a foreign port. A’s Government afterwards declares war against the country in which the port is situated. The contract becomes void when war is declared.
(e) A contracts to act at a theatre for six months in consideration of a sum paid in advance by B. On several occasions A is too ill to act. The contract to act on those occasions becomes void.
1. See section 65, infra.
Where persons reciprocally promise, firstly to do certain things which are legal, and, secondly under specified circumstances, to do certain other things which are illegal, the first set of promise is a contract, but the second is a void agreement.
A and B agree that A shall sell B a house for 10,000 rupees, but that, if B uses it as a gambling house, he shall pay A 50,000 rupees for it.
The first set of reciprocal promises, namely, to sell the house and to pay 10,000 rupees for it, is a contract.
The second set is for an unlawful object, namely, that B may use the house as a gambling house, and is a void agreement.
In the case of an alternative promise, one branch of which is legal and other other illegal, the legal branch alone can be enforced.
A and B agree that A shall pay B 1,000 rupees, for which B shall afterwards deliver to A either rice or smuggled opium.
This is a valid contract to deliver rice, and a void agreement as to the opium.
Where a debtor, owing several distinct debts to one person, makes a payment to him, either with express intimation, or under circumstances implying, that the payment is to be applied to the discharge of some particular debt, the payment if accepted, must be applied accordingly.
(a) A owes B, among other debts, 1,000 rupees upon a promissory note, which falls due on the first June. He owes B no other debt of that amount. On the first June, A pays to B 1,000 rupees. The payment is to be applied to the discharge of the promissory note.
(b) A owes to B, among other debts, the sum of 567 rupees. B writes to A and demands payment of this sum. A sends to B 567 rupees. This payment is to be applied to the discharge of the debt of which B had demanded payment.
Where the debtor has ommitted to intimate, and there are no other circumstances indicating to which debt the payment is to be applied, the creditor may apply it at his discretion to any lawful debt actually due and payable to him from the debtor, whether its recovery is or is not barred by the law in force for the time being as to the limitations of suits.
Where neither party makes any appropriation, the payment shall be applied in discharge of the debts in order of time, whether they are or are not barred by the law in force for the time being as to the limitation of suits. If the debts are of equal standing, the payment shall be applied in discharge of each proportionally.
If the parties to a contract agree to substitute a new contract for it, or to rescind or alter it, the original contract need not be performed.
(a) A owes money to B under a contract. It is agreed between A, B and C, that B shall thenceforth accept C as his debtor, instead of A. The old debt of A to B is at an end, and a new debt from C to B has been contracted.
(b) A owes B 10,000 rupees. A enters into an agreement with B, and gives B a mortgage of his (A’s), estate for 5,000 rupees in place of the debt of 10,000 rupees. This is a new contract and extinguishes the old.
(c) A owes B 1,000 rupees under a contract, B owes C 1,000 rupees, B orders A to credit C with 1,000 rupees in his books, but C does not assent to the agreement. B still owes C 1,000 rupees, and no new contract has been entered into.
Every promise may dispense with or remit, wholly or in part, the performance of the promise made to him, or may extend the time for such performance, 1or may accept instead of it any satisfaction which he thinks fit.
(a) A promises to paint a picture for B. B afterwards forbids him to do so. A is no longer bound to perform the promise.
(b) A owes B 5,000 rupees. A pays to B, and B accepts, in satisfaction of the whole debt, 2,000 rupees paid at the time and place at which the 5,000 rupees were payable. The whole debt is discharged.
(c) A owes B 5,000 rupees. C pays to B 1,000 rupees, and B accepts them, in satisfaction of his claim on A. This payment is a discharge of the whole claim.2
(d) A owes B, under a contract, a sum of money, the amount of which has not been ascertained. A, without ascertaining the amount, gives to B, and B, in satisfaction thereof, accepts, the sum of 2,000 rupees. This is a discharge of the whole debt, whatever may be its amount.
(e) A owes B 2,000 rupees, and is also indebted to another creditors. A makes an arrangement with his creditors, including B, to pay them a 3[composition] of eight annas in the rupee upon their respective demands. Payment to B of 1,000 rupees is a discharge of B’s demand.
1. But See section 135, infra.
2. See section 41, supra.
3. Subs. by Act 12 of 1891, sec. 2 and Sch. II, Pt. I, for “compensation”.
When a person at whose option a contract is voidable rescinds it, the other party thereto need to perform any promise therein contained in which he is the promisor. The party rescinding a voidable contract shall, if he have received any benefit thereunder from another party to such contract restore such benefit, so far as may be, to the person from whom it was received.1
1.See section 75, infra.
When an agreement is discovered to be void, or when a contract becomes void, any person who has received any advantage under such agreement or contract is bound to restore, it, or to make compensation for it, to the person from whom he received it.
(a) A pays B 1,000 rupees, in consideration of B’s promising to marry C, A’s daughter. C is dead at the time of the promise. The agreement is void, but B must repay A the 1,000 rupees.
(b) A contracts with B to deliver to him 250 maunds of rice before the first of May. A delivers 130 maunds only before that day, and none after. B retains the 130 maunds after the first of May. He is bound to pay A for them.
(c) A, a singer, contracts with B, the manager of a theatre, to sing at his theatre for two nights in every week during the next two months, and B engages to pay her a hundred rupees for each night’s performance. On the sixth night, A wilfully absents herself from the theatre, and B, in consequence, rescinds the contract. B must pay A for the five nights on which she had sung.
(d) A contracts to sing for B at a concert for 1,000 rupees, which are paid in advance. A is too ill to sing. A is not bound to make compensation to B for the loss of the profits which B would have made if A had been able to sing, but must refund to B the 1,000 rupees paid in advance.
The rescission of a voidable contract may be communicated or revoked in the same manner, and subject to some rules, as apply to the communication or revocation of the proposal. proposal.1
1.see sections 3 and 5, supra.
If any promisee neglects or refuses to afford the promisee reasonable facilities for the performance of his promise, the promisor is excused by such neglect or refusal as to non-performance caused thereby.
A contracts with B to repair B’s house.
B neglects or refuses to point out to A the places in which his house requires repair.
A is excused for the non-performance of the contract, if it is caused by such neglect or refusal.
If a person, incapable of entering into a contract, or anyone whom he is legally bound to support, is supplied by another person with necessaries suited to his condition in life, the person who has furnished such supplies is entitled to be reimbursed from the property of such incapable person.
(a) A supplies B, a lunatic, with necessaries suitable to his condition in life. A is entitled to be reimbursed from B’s property.
(b) A suplies the wife and children of B, a lunatic, with necessaries suitable to their condition in life. A is entitled to be reimbursed from B’s property.
1. The property of a Government ward in Madhya Pradesh is not liable under this section; see the C.P. Court of Wards Act, 1899 (C.P. Act 24 of 1899), section 31(I).
A person who is interested in the payment of money which another is bound by law to pay, and who therefore pays it, is entitled to be reimbursed by the other.
B holds land in Bengal, on a lease granted by A, the zamindar. The revenue payable by A to the Government being in arrear, his land is advertised for sale by the Government. Under the revenue law, the consequence of such sale will be the annulment of B’s lease. B to prevent the sale and the consequent annulment of his own lease, pays the Government the sum due from A. A is bound to make good to B the amount so paid.
Where a person lawfully does anything for another person, or delivers anything to him, not intending to do so gratuitously, and such another person enjoys the benefit thereof, the letter is bound to make compensation to the former in respect of, or to restore, the thing so done or delivered.
A person who finds goods belonging to another, and takes them into his custody, is subject to the same responsibility as a bailee.1
1.See sections 151 and 152,infra.
A person to whom money has been paid, or anything delivered, by mistake or under coercion, must repay or return it.
(a) A and B jointly owe 100 rupees to C, A alone pays the amount to C, and B, not knowing this fact, pays 100 rupees over again to C. C is bound to repay the amount to B.
(b) A railway company refuses to deliver up certain goods to the consignee except upon the payment of an illegal charge for carriage. The consignee pays the sum charged in order to obtain the goods. He is entitled to recover so much of the charge as was illegal and excessive.
When a contract has been broken, the party who suffers by such breach is entitled to receive, form the party who has broken the contract, compensation for any loss or damage caused to him thereby, which naturally arose in the usual course of things from such breach, or which the parties knew, when they made the contract, to be likely to result from the breach of it.
Such compensation is not to be given for any remote and indirect loss of damage sustained by reason of the breach.
Compensation for failure to discharge obligation resembling those created by contract : When an obligation resembling those created by contract has been incurred and has not been discharged, any person injured by the failure to discharge it is entitled to receive the same compensation from the party in default, as if such person had contracted to discharge it and had broken his contract.
Explanation : In estimating the loss or damage arising from a breach of contract, the means which existed of remedying the inconvenience caused by non-performance of the contract must be taken into account.
(a) A contracts to sell and deliver 50 maunds of saltpetre to B, at a certain price to be paid on delivery. A breaks his promise. B is entitled to receive from A, by way of compensation, the sum, if any, by which the contract price falls short of the price for which B might have obtained 50 maunds of saltpetre of like quality at the time when the saltpetre ought to have been delivered.
(b) A hires B’s ship to go to Bombay, and there takes on board, on the first of January, a cargo, which A is to provide, and to bring it to Calcutta, the freight to be paid when earned. B’s ship does not go to Bombay, but A has opportunities of procuring suitable conveyance for the cargo upon terms as advantageous as those on which he had chartered the ship. A avails himself of those opportunities, but is put to trouble and expense in doing so. A is entitled to receive compensation from B in respect of such trouble and expense.
(c) A contracts to buy of B, at a stated price, 50 maunds of rice, no time being fixed for delivery. A afterwards informs B that he will not accept the rice if tendered to him. B is entitled to receive from A, by way of compensation, the amount, if any, by which the contract price exceeds that which B can obtain for the rice at the time when A informs B that he will not accept it.
(d) A contracts to buy B’s ship for 60,000 rupees, but breaks his promise. A must pay to B, by way of compensation, the excess, if any, of the contract price over the price which B can obtain for the ship at the time of the breach of promise.
(e) A, the owner of a boat, contracts with B to take a cargo of jute to Mirzapur, for sale at that place, starting on a specified day. The boat, owing to some avoidable cause, does not start at the time appointed, whereby the arrival of the cargo at Mirzapur is delayed beyond the time when it would have arrived if the boat had sailed according to the contract. After that date, and before the arrival of the cargo, the price of jute falls. The measure of the compensation payable to B by A is the difference between the price which B could have obtained for the cargo at Mirzapur at the time when it would have arrived if forwarded in due course, and its market price at the time when it actually arrived.
(f) A contracts to repair B’s house in a certain manner, and receives payment in advance. A repairs the house, but not according to contract. B is entitled to recover from A the cost of making the repairs conform to the contract.
(g) A contracts to let his ship to B for a year, from the first of January, for a certain price. Freights rise, and, on the first of January, the hire obtainable for the ship is higher than the contract price. A breaks his promise. He must pay to B, by way of compensation, a sum equal to the difference between the contract price and the price for which B could hire a similar ship for a year on and from the first of January.
(h) A contracts to supply B with a certain quantity of iron at a fixed price, being a higher price than that for which A could procure and deliver the iron. B wrongfully refuses to receive the iron. B must pay to A, by way of compensation, the difference between the contract price of the iron and the sum for which A could have obtained and delivered it.
(i) A delivers to B, a common carrier, a machine, to be conveyed, without delay, to A’s mill, informing B that his mill is stopped for want of machine. B unreasonably delays the delivery of the machine, and A, in consequence, loses a profitable contract with the Government. A is entitled to receive from B, by way of compensation, the average amount of profit which would have been made by the working of the mill during the time that delivery of it was delayed, but not the loss sustained through the loss of the Government contract.
(j) A, having contracted with B to supply B with 1,000 tons of iron at 100 rupees a ton, to be delivered at a stated time, contracts with C for the purchase of 1,000 tons of iron at 80 rupees a ton, telling C that he does so for the purpose of performing his contract with B. C fails to perform his contract with A, who cannot procure other iron, and B, in consequence, rescinds the contract. C must pay to A 20,000 rupees, being the profit which A would have made by the performance of his contract with B.
(k) A contracts with B to make and deliver to B, by a fixed day, for a specified price, a certain piece of machinery. A does not deliver the piece of machinery, at the time specified, and, in consequence of this, B is obliged to procure another at a higher price than that which he was to have paid to A, and is prevented from performing a contract which B had made with a third person at the time of his contract with A (but which had not been communicated to A), and is compelled to make compensation for breach of that contract. A must pay to B, by way of compensation, the difference between the contract price of the price of machinery and the sum paid by B for another, but not the sum paid by B to the third person by way of compensation.
(l) A, a builder, contracts to erect and finish a house by the first of January, in order that B may give possession of it at that time to C, to whom B has contracted to let it. A is informed of the contract between B and C. A builds the house so badly that, before the first of January, it falls down and has to be re-built by B, who, in consequence, loses the rent which he was to have received from C, and is obliged to make compensations to C for the breach of his contract. A must make compensation to B for the cost of rebuilding of the house, for the rent lost, and for the compensation made to C.
(m) A sells certain merchandise to B, warranting it to be of a particular quality, and B, in reliance upon this warranty, sells it to C with a similar warranty. The goods prove to be not according to the warranty, and B becomes liable to pay C a sum of money by way of compensation. B is entitled to be reimbursed this sum by A.
(n) A contracts to pay a sum of money to B on a day specified. A does not pay the money on that day. B, in consequence of not receiving the money on that day, is unable to pay his debts, and is totally ruined. A is not liable to make good to B anything except the principal sum he contracted to pay, together with interest upto the day of payment.
(o) A contracts to deliver 50 maunds of saltpetre to B on the first of January, at a certain price, B, afterwards, before the first of January, contracts to sell the saltpetre to C at a price higher than the market price of the first of January. A breaks his promise. In estimating the compensation payable by A to B, the market price of the first of January, and not the profit which would have arisen to B from the sale to C, is to be taken into account.
(p) A contracts to sell and deliver 500 bales of cotton to B on a fixed day. A knows nothing of B’s mode of conducting his business. A breaks his promise, and B, having no cotton, is obliged to close his mill. A is not responsible to B for the loss caused to B by closing of the mill.
(q) A contracts to sell and deliver to B, on the first of January, certain cloth which B intends to manufacture into caps of a particular kind, for which there is no demand, except at that season. The cloth is not delivered till after the appointed time, and too late to be used that year in making caps. B is entitled to receive from A, by way of compensation, the difference between the contract price of the cloth and its market price at the time of delivery, but not the profits which he expected to obtain by making caps, nor the expenses which he has been put to in making preparation for the manufacture.
(r) A, a ship owner, contracts with B to convey him from Calcutta to Sydney in A’s ship, sailing on the first of January, and B pays to A, by way of deposit, one-half of his passage-money. The ship does not sail on the first of January, and B, after being, in consequence, detained in Calcutta for some time, and thereby put to some expense, proceeds to Sydney in another vessel, and, in consequence, arriving too late in Sydney, loses a sum of money. A is liable to repay to B his deposit, with interest, and the expense to which he is put by his detention in Calcutta, and the excess, if any, of the passage-money paid for the second ship over that agreed upon for the first, but not the sum of money which B lost by arriving in Sydney too late.
1[When a contract has been broken, if a sum is named in the contract as the amount to be paid in case of such breach, or if the contract contains any other stipulation by way of penalty, the party complaining of the breach is entitled, whether or not actual damage or loss is proved to have been caused thereby, to receive from the party who has broken the contract reasonable compensation not exceeding the amount so named or, as the case may be, the penalty stipulated for.
Explanation.— A stipulation for increased interest from the date of default may be a stipulation by way of penalty.]
Exception.— When any person enters into any bail-bond, recognizance or other instrument of the same nature or, under the provisions of any law, or under the orders of the 2[Central Government] or of any3[State Government], gives any bond for the performance of any public duty or act in which the public are interested, he shall be liable, upon breach of the condition of any such instrument, to pay the whole sum mentioned therein.
Explanation.— A person who enters into a contract with Government does not necessarily thereby undertake any public duty, or promise to do an act in which the public are interested.
(a) A contracts with B to pay B Rs. 1,000 if he fails to pay B Rs. 500 on a given day. A fails to pay B Rs. 500 on that day. B is entitled to recover from A such compensation, not exceeding Rs. 1,000, as the Court considers reasonable.
(b) A contracts with B that, if A practises as a surgeon within Calcutta , he will pay B Rs. 5,000. A practises as a surgeon in Calcutta . B is entitled to such compensation; not exceeding Rs. 5,000 as the court considers reasonable.
(c) A gives a recognizance binding him in a penalty of Rs. 500 to appear in Court on a certain day. He forfeits his recognizance. He is liable to pay the whole penalty.
4[(d) A gives B a bond for the repayment of Rs. 1,000 with interest at 12 per cent. at the end of six months, with a stipulation that, in case of default, interest shall be payable at the rate of 75 per cent. from the date of default. This is a stipulation by way of penalty, and B is only entitled to recover from A such compensation as the Court considers reasonable.
(e) A, who owes money to B, a money-lender, undertakes to repay him by delivering to him 10 maunds of grain on a certain date, and stipulates that, in the event of his not delivering the stipulated amount by the stipulated date, he shall be liable to deliver 20 maunds. This is a stipulation by way of penalty, and B is only entitled to reasonable consideration in case of breach.
(f) A undertakes to repay B a loan of Rs. 1,000 by five equal monthly instalments, with a stipulation that, in default, of payment of any instalment, the whole shall become due. This stipulation is not by way of penalty, and the contract may be enforced according to its terms.
(g) A borrows Rs. 100 from B and gives him a bond for Rs. 200 payable by five yearly instalments of Rs. 40, with a stipulation that, in default of payment of any instalment, the whole shall become due. This is a stipulation by way of penalty.]
1. Subs. by Act 6 of 1899, sec. 4, for the first paragraph.
2. Subs. by the A.O. 1937, for “Government of India ”.
3. Subs. by the A.O. 1950, for “Provincial Government”.
4. Ins. by Act 6 of 1899, sec. 4(2).
A person who rightfully rescinds a contract is entitled to consideration for any damage which he has sustained through the no fulfillment of the contract.
A, a singer, contracts with B, the manager of a theatre, to sing at his theatre for two nights in every week during the next two months, and B engages to pay her 100 rupees for each night’s performance. On the sixth night, A wilfully absents herself from the theatre, and B, in consequence, rescinds the contracts. B is entitled to claim compensation for the damage which he has sustained through the non-fulfilment of the contract.
A contract by which one party promises to save the other from loss caused to him by the contract of the promisor himself, or by the conduct of any other person, is called a “contract of indemnity”.
A contracts to indemnify B against the consequences of any proceedings which C may take against B in respect of a certain sum of 200 rupees. This is a contract of indemnity.
The promisee in a contract of indemnity, acting within the scope of his authority, is entitled to recover from the promisor-
(1) all damages which he may be compelled to pay in any suit in respect of any matter to which the promise to indemnify applies;
(2) all costs which he may be compelled to pay in any such suit, if in bringing of defending it, he did not contravene the orders of the promisor, and acted as it would have been prudent for him to act in the absence of any contract of indemnity, or if the promisor authorised him to bring or defend the suit;
(3) all sums which he may have paid under the terms of any compromise of any such suit, if the compromise was not contract to the orders of the promisor, and was one which it would have been prudent for the promise to make in the absence of any contract of indemnity, or if the promisor authorised him to compromise the suit.
A “contract of guarantee” is a contract to perform the promise, or discharge the liability, of a third person in case of his default. The person who gives the guarantee is called the “surety”, the person in respect of whose default the guarantee is given is called the “principal debtor”, and the person to whom the guarantee is given is called the “creditor”. A guarantee may be either oral or written.
Anything done, or any promise made, for the benefit of the principal debtor, may be a sufficient consideration to the surety for giving the guarantee.
(a) B requests A to sell and deliver to him goods on credit. A agrees to do so, provided C will guarantee the payment of the price of the goods. C promises to guarantee the payment in consideration of A’s promise to deliver the goods. This is a sufficient consideration for C’s promise.
(b) A sells and delivers goods to B. C afterwards requests A to forbear to sue B for the debt for a year, and promises that, if he does so, C will pay for them in default of payment by B. A agrees to forbear as requested. This is a sufficient consideration for C’s promise.
(c) A sells and delivers goods to B. C afterwards, without consideration, agrees to pay for them in default of B. The agreement is void.
The liability of the surety is co-extensive with that of the principal debtor, unless it is otherwise provided by the contract.
A guarantees to B the payment of a bill of exchange by C, the acceptor. The bill is dishonoured by C. A is liable, not only for the amount of the bill, but also for any interest and charges which may have become due on it.
A guarantee which extends to a series of transaction, is called, a “continuing guarantee”.
(a) A, in consideration that B will employ C in collecting the rents of B’s zamindari, promises B to be responsible, to the amount of 5,000 rupees, for the due collection and payment by C of those rents. This is a continuing guarantee.
(b) A guarantees payment to B, a tea-dealer, to the amount of £ 100, for any tea he may from time to time supply to C. B supplies C with tea of above the value of £ 100, and C pays B for it. Afterwards, B supplies Cwith tea of the value of £ 200. C fails to pay. The guarantee given by A was a continuing guarantee, and he is accordingly liable to B to the extent of £ 100.
(c) A guarantees payment to B of the price of five sacks of flour to be delivered by B to C and to be paid for in a month. B delivers five sacks to C. C pays for them. Afterwards B delivers four sacks to C, which C does not pay for. The guarantee given by A was not a continuing guarantee, and accordingly he is not liable for the price of the four sacks.
A continuing guarantee may at any time be revoked by the surety, as to future transactions, by notice to the creditor.
(a) A, in consideration of B’s discounting, at, A’s request, bills of exchange for C, guarantees to B, for twelve months, the due payment of all such bills to the extent of 5,000 rupees. B discounts bills for C to the extent of 2,000 rupees. Afterwards, at the end of three months, A revokes the guarantee. This revocation discharges A from all liability to B for any subsequent discount. But A is liable to B for the 2,000 rupees, on default of C.
(b) A guarantees to B, to the extent of 10,000 rupees, that C shall pay all the bills that B shall draw upon him. B draws upon C, C accepts the bill. A gives notice of revocation. C dishonours the bill at maturity. A is liable upon his guarantee.
The death of the surety operates, in the absence of any contract to the contrary, as a revocation of ma continuing guarantee, so far as regards future transactions.
Where two persons contract with third person to undertake a certain liability, and also contract with each other that one of them shall be liable only on the default of the other, the third person not being a party to such contract the liability of each of such two persons to the third person under the first contract is not affected by the existence of the second contract,although such third person may have been aware of its existence.
A and B make a joint and several promissory note to C. A makes it, in fact, as surety for B, and C knows this at the time when the note is made. The fact that A, to the knowledge of C, made the note as surety for B, is no answer to a suit by C against A upon the note.
Any variance made without the surety’s consent, in the terms of the contract between the principal1[debtor] and the creditor, discharges the surety as to transactions subsequent to the variance.
(a) A becomes surety to C for B’s conduct as manager in C’s bank. Afterwards, B and C contract, without A’s consent, that B’s salary shall be raised, and that he shall become liable for one-fourth of the losses on overdrafts. B allows a customer to over-draw, and the bank loses a sum of money.
A is discharged from his suretyship by the variance made without his consent, and is not liable to make good this loss.
(b) A guarantees C against the misconduct of B in an office to which B is appointed by C, and of which the duties are defined by an Act of the Legislature. By a subsequent Act, the nature of the office is materially altered. Afterwards, B misconducts himself. A is discharged by the change from future liability under his guarantee, though the misconduct of B is in respect of a duty not affected by the later Act.
(c) C agrees to appoint B as his clerk to sell goods at a yearly salary, upon A’s becoming surety to C for B’s duly accounting for moneys received by him as such clerk. Afterwards, without A’s knowledge or consent, C and B agree that B should be paid by a commission on the goods sold by him and not by a fixed salary. A is not liable for subsequent misconduct of B.
(d) A gives to C a continuing guarantee to the extent of 3,000 rupees for any oil supplied by C to B on credit. Afterwards B becomes embarrassed, and, without the knowledge of A, B and C contract that C shall continue to supply B with oil for ready money, and that the payments shall be applied to the then, existing debts between B and C. A is not liable on his guarantee for any goods supplied after this new arrangement.
(e) C contracts to lend B 5,000 rupees on the 1st March. A guarantees repayment. C pays the 5,000 rupees to B on the 1st January, A is discharged from his liability, as the contract has been varied, inasmuch as C might sue B for the money before the first of March.
1.Ins. by Act 24 of 1917, sec. 2 and Sch. I.
The surety is discharged by any contract between the creditor and the principal debtor, by which the principal debtor is released, or by any act or omission of the creditor, the legal consequence of which is the discharge of the principal debtor.
(a) A gives a guarantee to C for goods to be supplied by C to B. C supplies goods to B, and afterwards B becomes embarrassed and contracts with his creditors (including C) to assign to them his property in consideration of their releasing him from their demands. Here B is released from his debt by the contract with C, and A is discharged from his suretyship.
(b) A contracts with B to grow a crop of indigo on A’s land and to deliver it to B at a fixed rate, and C guarantees A’s performance of this contract. B diverts a stream of water which is necessary for irrigation of A’s land, and thereby prevents him from raising the indigo. C is no longer liable on his guarantee.
(c) A contracts with B for a fixed price to build a house for B within a stipulated time. B supplying the necessary timber. C guarantees A’s performance of the contract. B omits to supply the timber. C is discharged from his suretyship.
A contract between the creditor and the principal debtor, by which the creditor make a composition with, or promises to give time, or not to sue, the principal debtor, discharges the surety, unless the surety assents to such contract.
Where a contract to give time to the principal debtor is made by the creditor with a third person, and not with the principal debtor, the surety is not discharged.
C, the holder of an overdue bill of exchange drawn by A as surety for B, and accepted by B, contracts withM to give to B. A is not discharged.
Mere forbearance on the part of the creditor to sue the principal debtor or to enforce any other remedy against him, dies not, in the absence of any provision in the guarantee to the contrary, discharge the surety.
B owes to C a debt guaranteed by A. The debt becomes payable. C does not sue B for a year after the debt has become payable. A is not discharged from his suretyship.
Where there are co-sureties, a release by the creditor of one of them does not discharge the others neither does set free the surety so released from his responsibility to the other sureties.1
1.See section 44,supra.
If the creditor does any act which is inconsistent with the right of the surety, or omits to do any act which his duty to the surety requires him to do, and the eventual remedy of the surety himself against the principal debtor is thereby impaired, the surety is discharged.
(a) B contracts to build a ship for C for a given sum, to be paid by instalments as the work reaches certain stages. A becomes surety to C for B’s due performance of the contract. C, without the knowledge of A, prepays to B the last two instalments. A is discharged by this prepayment.
(b) C lends money to B on the security of a joint and several promissory note made in C’s favour by B, and by A as surety for B, together with a bill of sale of B’s furniture, which gives power to C to sell the furniture, and apply the proceeds in discharge of the note. Subsequently, C sells the furniture, but, owing to his misconduct and wilful negligence, only a small price is realized. A is discharged from liability on the note.
(c) A puts M as apprentice to B, and gives a guarantee to B for M’s fidelity. B promises on his part that he will at least once a month, see M make up the cash. B omits to see this done as promised, and M embezzles. A is not liable to B on his guarantee.
(a) B contracts to build a ship for C for a given sum, to be paid by instalments as the work reaches certain stages. A becomes surety to C for B’s due performance of the contract. C, without the knowledge of A, prepays to B the last two instalments. A is discharged by this prepayment.
(b) C lends money to B on the security of a joint and several promissory note made in C’s favour by B, and by A as surety for B, together with a bill of sale of B’s furniture, which gives power to C to sell the furniture, and apply the proceeds in discharge of the note. Subsequently, C sells the furniture, but, owing to his misconduct and wilful negligence, only a small price is realized. A is discharged from liability on the note.
(c) A puts M as apprentice to B, and gives a guarantee to B for M’s fidelity. B promises on his part that he will at least once a month, see M make up the cash. B omits to see this done as promised, and M embezzles. A is not liable to B on his guarantee.
Where a guaranteed debt has become due, or default of the principal debtor to perform a guaranteed duty has taken place, the surety upon payment or performance of all that he is liable for, is invested with all the rights which the creditor had against the principal debtor.
A surety is entitled to the benefit of every security which the creditor has against the principal debtor at the time when the contract of suretyship entered into, whether the surety knows of the existence of such security or not; and if the creditor loses, or without the consent of the existence of such security or not; and if the creditor loses, or without the consent of the surety, parts with such security, the surety, the surety is discharged to the extent of the value of the security.
(a) C, advances to B, his tenant, 2,000 rupees on the guarantee of A. C has also a further security for the 2,000 rupees by a mortgage of B’s furniture. C, cancels the mortgage. B becomes insolvent and C sues A on his guarantee. A is discharged from liability to the amount of the value of the furniture.
(b) C, a creditor, whose advance to B is secured by a decree, receives also a guarantee for that advance from A. C afterwards takes B’s goods in execution under the decree, and then, without the knowledge of A, withdraws the execution. A is discharged.
(c) A, as surety for B, makes a bond jointly with B to C, to secure a loan from C to B. Afterwards, C obtains from B a further security for the same debt. Subsequently, C gives up the further security. A is not discharged.
Any guarantee which has been obtained by means of misrepresentation made by the creditor, or with his knowledge and assent, concerning a material part of the transaction, is invalid.
Any guarantee which the creditor has obtained by means of keeping silence as to meterial circumstances, is invalid.
(a) A engages B as clerk to collect money for him. B fails to account for some of his receipts, and A in consequence calls upon him to furnish security for his duly accounting. C gives his guarantee for B’s duly accounting. A does not acquaint C with B’s previous conduct. B afterwards makes default. The guarantee is invalid.
(b) A guarantees to C payment for iron to be supplied by him to B to the amount of 2,000 tons. B and C have privately agreed that B should pay five rupees per ton beyond the market price, such excess to be applied in liquidation of an old debt. This agreement is concealed from A. A is not liable as a surety.
Where a person gives a guarantee upon a contract that the creditor shall not act upon it until another person has jointed in it as co-surety, the guarantee is not valid that other person does not join.
In every contract of guarantee there is an implied promise by the principal debtor to indemnify the surety, and the surety is entitled to recover from the principal debtor whatever sum he has rightfully paid under the guarantee, but no sums which he has paid wrongfully.
(a) B is indebted to C, and A is surety for the debt. C demands payment from A, and on his refusal sues him for the amount. A defends the suit, having reasonable grounds for doing so, but he is compelled to pay the amount of debt with costs. He can recover from B the amount paid by him for costs, as well as the principal debt.
(b) C lends B a sum of money, and A, at the request of B, accepts a bill of exchange drawn by B upon A to secure the amount. C, the holder of the bill, demands payment of it from A, and, on A’s refusal to pay, sues him upon the bill. A, not having reasonable grounds for so doing, defends the suit, and has to pay the amount of the bill and costs. He can recover from B the amount of the bill, but not the sum paid for costs, as there was no real ground for defending the action.
(c) A guarantees to C, to the extent of 2,000 rupees, payment for rice to be supplied by C to B. C supplies to B rice to a less amount than 2,000 rupees, but obtains from A payment of the sum of 2,000 rupees in respect of the rice supplied. A cannot recover from B more than the price of the rice actually supplied.
Where two or more persons are co-sureties for the same debt or duty, either jointly or severally, and whether under the same or different contract, and whether with or without the knowledge of each other the co-sureties, in the absence of any contract to the contrary, are liable, as between themselves, to pay each an equal share of the whole debt, or of that part of it which remains unpaid by the principal debtor.1
(a) A, B and C are sureties to D for the sum of 3,000 rupees lent to E. E makes default in payment. A, B and C are liable, as between themselves, to pay 1,000 rupees each.
(b) A, B and C are sureties to D for the sum of 1,000 rupees lent to E, and there is a contract between A, B and C that A is to be responsible to the extent of one-quarter, B to the extent of one-quarter, and C to the extent of one-half. E makes default in payment. As between the sureties, A is liable to pay 250 rupees, B 250 rupees, and C 500 rupees.
1. See section 43, supra.
Co-sureties who are bound in different sums are liable to pay equally as far as the limits of their respective obligations permit.
(a) A, B and C, as sureties for D, enter into three several bonds, each in a different penalty, namely, A in the penalty of 10,000 rupees, B in that of 20,000 rupees, C in that of 40,000 rupees, conditioned for D’s duly accounting to E. D makes default to the extent of 30,000 rupees. A, B and C are liable to pay 10,000 rupees.
(b) A, B and C, as sureties for D, enter into three several bonds, each in a different penalty, namely, A in the penalty of 10,000 rupees, B in that of 20,000 rupees, C in that of 40,000 rupees, conditioned for D’s duly accounting to E. D makes default to the extent of 40,000 rupees. A is liable to pay 10,000 rupees, and B and C 15,000 rupees each.
(c) A, B and C, as sureties for D, enter into three several bonds, each in a different penalty, namely, A in the penalty of 10,000 rupees, B in that of 20,000 rupees, C in that of 40,000 rupees, conditioned for D’s duly accounting to E. D makes default to the extent of 70,000 rupees. A, B and C have to pay the full penalty of his bond.
A ‘bailment’ is the delivery of goods by one person to another for some purpose, upon a contract that they shall, when the purpose is accomplished, be returned or otherwise disposed of according to the directions of the person delivering them. The person delivering the goods is called the ‘bailor’. The person to whom they are delivered is called the ‘bailee’.
Explanation.—If a person is already in possession of the goods of other contracts to hold them as a bailee, he thereby becomes the bailee, and the owner becomes the bailor of such goods, although they may not have been delivered by way of bailment.
The delivery to be bailee may be made by doing anything which has the effect of putting the goods in the possession of the intended bailee or of any person authorised to hold them on his behalf.
The bailor is bound to disclose to the bailee faults in the goods bailed, of which the bailor is aware, and which materially interfere with the use of them, or expose the bailee to extraordinary risk; and if he does not make such disclosure, he is responsible for damage arising to the bailee directly from such faults.
(a) A lends a horse, which he knows to be vicious, to B. He does not disclose the fact that the horse is vicious. The horse runs away. B is thrown and injured. A is responsible to B for damage sustained.
(b) A hires a carriage of B. The carriage is unsafe, though B is not aware of it, and A is injured. B is responsible to A for the injury.
1151. Care to be taken by bailee.—In all cases of bailment the bailee is bound to take as much care of the goods bailed to him as a man of ordinary prudence would, under similar circumstances, take of his own goods of the same bulk, quantity and value as the goods bailed.2
1. The responsibility of the Trustees of the Port of Madras constituted under the Madras Port Trust Act, 1905 (Madras Act 2 of 1905), in regard to goods has been declared to be that of a bailee under these sections, without the qualifying words “in the absence of any special contract” in section 152, see section 40(1) of that Act.
2. As to railway contracts see the Indian Railways Act, 1890 (9 of 1890), section 72. [Ed. The Indian Railways Act, 1890 (9 of 1890) has been repealed by the Railways Act, 1989 (24 of 1989), sec. 200.] As to the liability of common carriers, see the Carriers Act, 1865 (3 of 1865), section 8.
1152. Bailee when not liable for loss, etc., of thing bailed. The bailee, in the absence of any special contract, is not responsible for the loss, destruction or deterioration of the thing bailed, if he has taken the amount of care of it described in section 151.
1. The responsibility of the Trustees of the Port of Madras constituted under the Madras Port Trust Act, 1905 (Madras Act 2 of 1905), in regard to goods has been declared to be that of a bailee under these sections, without the qualifying words “in the absence of any special contract” in section 152, see section 40(1) of that Act
A contract of bailment is voidable at the option of the bailor, if the bailee does any act with regard to the foods bailed, inconsistent with the conditions of the bailment.
A lets to B, for hire, a horse for his own riding. B drives the horse in his carriage. This is, at the option of A,a termination of the bailment.
If the bailee makes any use of the goods bailed which is not according to the conditions of the bailment, he is liable to make compensation to the bailor for any damage arising to the goods from or during such use of them.
(a) A lends a horse to B for his own riding only. B allows C, a member of his family, to ride the horse. Crides with care, but the horse accidentally falls and is injured. B is liable to make compensation to A for the injury done to the horse.
(b) A hires a horse in Calcutta from B expressly to march to Banaras. A rides with due care, but marches to Cuttack instead. The horse accidentally falls and is injured. A is liable to make compensation to B for the injury to the horse.
If the bailee, with the consent of the bailor, mixes the goods of the bailor with his own goods, the bailor and the bailee shall have an interest, in proportion to their respective shares, in the mixture thus produced.
If the bailee, without the consent of the bailor, mixes the goods of the bailor with his own goods and the goods can be separated or divided, the property in the goods remains in the parties respectively; but the bailee is bound to be bear the expense of separation or division, and any damage arising from the mixture.
A bails 100 bales of cotton marked with a particular mark to B. B, without A’s consent, mixes the 100 bales with other bales of his own, bearing a different mark; A is entitled to have his 100 bales returned, and B is bound to bear all the expense incurred in the separation of the bales, and any other incidental damage.
If the bailee, without the consent of the bailor, mixes the foods of the bailor with his own goods in such a manner that it is impossible to separate the goods bailed from the other goods, and deliver them back, the bailor is entitled to be compensated by the bailee for the loss of the goods.
A bails a barrel of Cape flour worth Rs. 45 to B. B, without A’s consent, mixes the flour with country flour of his own, worth only Rs. 25 a barrel. B must compensate A for the loss of his flour.
Where, by the conditions of the bailment, the goods are to be kept or to be carried, or to have work done upon them by the bailee for the bailor, and the bailee is to receive no remuneration, the bailors shall repay to the bailee the necessary expenses incurred by him for the purpose of the bailment.
The lender of a thing for use may at any time require its return, if the loan was gratuitous, even through he lent it for a specified time or purpose. But if, on the faith of such loan made for a specified time or purpose, the borrower has acted in such a manner that the return of the thing lent before the time agreed upon would cause him losses exceeding the benefit actually derived by him from the loan, the lender must, if he compels the return. indemnify the borrower for the amount in which the loss so occasioned exceeds the benefits so derived.
It is the duty of the bailee to return, or deliver according to the bailor’s directions, the goods bailed, without demand, as soon as the time for which they were bailed has expired, or the purpose for which they were bailed has been accomplished.
1161. Bailee’s responsibility when goods are not duly returned.—If by the fault of the bailee, the goods are not returned, delivered or tendered at the proper time, he is responsible to the bailor for any loss, destruction or deterioration of the goods from that time.
1. Section 161 has been declared to apply to the responsibility of the Trustees of the Port of Madras as to goods in their possession see the Madras Port Trust Act, 1905 (Madras Act 2 of 1905).
2. As to Railway contracts, see the Indian Railways Act, 1890 (9 of 1890), section 72 [Ed. The Indian Railways Act, 1890 (9 of 1980) has been repealed by the Railways Act, 1989 (24 of 1989), sec. 200.]
A gratuitous bailment is terminated by the death either of the bailor or of the bailee.
In the absence of any contract to the contrary, the bailee is bound to deliver to the bailer, or according to his directions, any increase or profit which may have accrued from the goods bailed.
A leaves a cow in the custody of B to be taken care of. The cow has a calf. B is bound to deliver the calf as well as the cow to A.
The bailor is responsible to the bailee for any loss which the bailee may sustain the reason that the bailor was not entitled to make the bailment, or to receive back the goods, or to give directions, respecting them.
If several joint owners of goods bail them, the bailee may deliver them back to, or according to the directions of, one joint owner without the consent of all in the absence of any agreement to the contrary.
If the bailor has no title to the goods, and the bailee, in good faith, delivers them back to, or according to the directions of the bailor, the bailee is not responsible to the owner in respect of such delivery.1
1. See the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872), section 117.
If a person, other than the bailor, claims goods bailed he may apply to the court to stop delivery of the goods to the bailor, and to decide the title to the goods.
The finder of goods has no right to use the owner for compensation for trouble and expense, voluntary incurred by him to preserve the goods and to find out the owner; but he may retain the goods again the owner until he receive such compensation; and where the owner has offered a specific required for the return of goods lost, the finder may sue for such reward, and may retain the goods until he received it.
When thing which is commonly the subject of sale is lost, if the owner cannot with reasonable diligence be found, or if he refuses upon demand, to pay the lawful charges of the finder, the finder may sell it -
(1) when the thing is in danger of perishing or of losing the greater part of its value, or
(2) when the lawful charges of the finder, in respect of the thing found, amount to two-thirds of its value.
Where the bailee has, in accordance with the purpose of the bailment, rendered any service involving the exercise of labour or skill in respect of the goods bailed he has in the absence of a contract to the contrary, a right to retain such goods until he receives due remuneration for the services he has rendered in respect of them.
(a) A delivers a rough diamond to B, a jeweller, to be cut and polished, which is accordingly done. B is entitled to retain the stone till he is paid for the services he has rendered.
(b) A gives cloth to B, a tailor, to make into a coat. B promises A to deliver the coat as soon as it is finished, and to give a three months credit for the price. B is not entitled to retain the coat until he is paid.
Bankers, factor, wharfingers, attorneys of a High Court and policy brokers may, in the absence of a contract to the contrary, retain as a security for a general balance of account, any goods bailed to them; but no other person have a right retain, as a security for which balance, goods, bailed to them, unless is an express contract to that effect.1
1. As to lien of an agent, see section 221, infra. As to lien of a Railway Administration, see the Indian Railways Act, 1890 (9 of 1890), section 55. [Ed. The Indian Railways Act, 1890 (9 of 1890) has been repealed by the Railways Act, 1989 (24 of 1989) See. 200. Now see the Railways Act 1989 (24 of 1989, section 83.]
The bailment of goods as security for payment of a debt or performance of a promise is called “pledge”. The bailor is in this case called “pawnor”. The bailee is called “pawnee”.
The pawnee may retain the goods pledged, not only for payment of the debt or the performance of the promise, but for the interests of the debt, and all necessary expenses incurred by him in respect to the possession or for the preservation of the goods pledged.
The pawnee shall not, in the absence of a contract to that effect, retain the goods pledged for any debt or promise of other than the debtor promise for which they are pledged; but such contract, in the absence of anything to the contrary, shall be presumed in regard to subsequent advances made by the pawnee.
The pawnee is entitled to receive from the pawnor extraordinary expenses incurred by him for the preservation of the goods pledged.
If the pawnor makes default in payment of the debt, or performance, at the stipulated time, or the promise, in respect of which the goods were pledged, the pawnee may bring as suit against the pawnor upon the debt or promise, and retain the goods pledged as a collateral security; or he may sell the thing pledged, on giving the pawnor reasonable notice of the sale.
If the proceeds of such sale are less than the amount due in respect of the debt or promise, the pawnor is still liable to pay the balance. If the proceeds of the sale are greater that the amount so due, the pawnee shall pay over the surplus to the pawnor.
It is the discretion of the pawnee to sell the goods in case the pawnor makes default but if the pawnee does not exercise that discretion no blame can be put on the pawenee and pawnee has the right to bring a suit for recovery of the debt and retain the goods pledged as collateral security; State Bank of India v. Smt. Neela Ashok Naik, AIR 2000 Bom 151.
If a time is stipulated for the payment of the debt, or performance of the promise, for which the pledged is made, and the pawnor makes default in payment of the debt or performance of the promise at the stipulated time, he may redeem the goods pledged at any subsequent time before the actual sale of them;1but he must, on that case, pay, in addition, any expenses which have arisen from his default.
1. For limitation, see the Limitation Act, 1963 (36 of 1963), Schedule 1.
1[178. Pledge by mercantile agent.—Where a mercantile agent is, with the consent of the owner, in possession of goods or the documents of title to goods, any pledge made by him, when acting in the ordinary course of business of a mercantile agent, shall be as valid as if he were expressly authorised by the owner of the goods to make the same; provided that the pawnee acts in good faith and has not at the time of the pledge notice that the pawnor has not authority to pledge.
Explanation : In this section, the expression “mercantile agent” and “documents of title” shall have the meanings assigned to them in the Indian Sale of Goods Act, 1930 (3 of 1930).
1. Sections 178 subs. by Act 4 of 1930, sec. 2, for original section 178.
1[178A. Pledge by person in possession under voidable contract.—When the pawnor has obtained possession of the other goods pledged by him under a contract voidable under section 19 of section 19A, but the contract has not been rescinded at the time of the pledge, the pawnee acquired a goods title to the goods, provided he acts in good faith and without notice of the pawnor’s defect of title.
1. Sections 178A subs. by Act 4 of 1930, sec. 2, for original section 178.