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UPSC Law optional mains - Previous year question| Law of contracts | Paper II | Capacity to contract


WHAT IS IN ? CAPACITY TO CONTRACT – IMPORTANCE + PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION DISCUSSED

IMPORTANCE OF THIS TOPIC – UPSC PERSPECTIVE

We are going to discuss one of question asked in 2017 UPSC Law optional mains

It is a part of vast topic nature and formation of contract

But do not skip this topic – just give a read – not very important

 
 

UPSC LAW OPTIONAL QUESTION | YEAR 2017 | PAPER II| QUESTION 1 A

QUESTION : “Minority can only be claimed as a shield but not as a sword.” Explain the statement and mention the situations when a minor is liable under the law of contract.

Answer line : It’s a statement based question – explain the statement : State how minors are not liable under contract – capacity to contract – their privilege cannot be used to defraud others –When minor misrepresents and commits fraud liable + Liable for necessities – rationale – example – case law.

INTRODUCTION : As per sec :11 of Indian Contract Act a minor does not hold capacity to contract and any contract entered by him is void ab-initio by the ruling of Mohiribibi case.


“Minority can only be claimed as a shield but not as a sword” – Statement explained ! The above principle of rendering minors contract void- ab-initio was devised to save minors from treacherous strings of liability in contracts. However the same cannot be used by a minor to defraud others. Thus minority status can be used only as a shield to safeguard the innocent minors and it cannot be used as sword to cheat on others.


MINOR’S LIABILITY UNDER LAW OF CONTRACT: When an infant obtained property or goods by misrepresenting his age, he can be compelled to restore it, but only so long as the same is traceable in his possession. If the minor has resold those goods he cannot be made to repay the value of goods and it is not applicable when the minor has received money instead of goods.


Case law : Leslie v. Sheill - A minor misrepresenting his age obtained loan from the B who sued to recover on the grounds- Minor is liable for damages for fraud. Minor shall be compelled in equity to restore the money.


Minor Liable for necessity : All contracts relating to the necessities supplied to a minor according to this status in life are valid as per section 68 of Indian Contract Act. But only the minor’s property is liable for necessities, and no personal liability is incurred by him. Necessities must be things which the minor actually needs# Peters v. Fleming


CONCLUSION : Kindly give your own conclusion – an attractive one

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Rishab Prasad
Rishab Prasad
Nov 25, 2022

In Lislie v Sheil it was not decided that minor can be made liable for all kinds of damages. Only goods or property can be recovered from minor as long as it is tracable. As far as money goes that cannot be easily traced nor can we decide which money is the one that minor took. Thus, monetary gains cannot be recovered from minors. This was also stated in Ajudhia Prasad v Chandan Lal. Moreover, in cases where minor is being sued for payment of goods / services received such a decree cannot be passed by court because it would amount to enforcement of the contract. Thus, only remedy is to recover the goods or property given to minor, if…

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