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Indian Contract Act, 1872. Legality of Consideration and Object. S. 23 What considerations and objects are lawful, and what not. The consideration or object of an agreement is lawful, unless- 1 . It is forbidden by law; or

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Indian contract act 1872

Indian Contract Act, 1872

Legality of Consideration and Object

JMM KLELC


S 23 what considerations and objects are lawful and what not
S. 23 What considerations and objects are lawful, and what not

The consideration or object of an agreement is lawful, unless-

1. It is forbidden by law; or

2. Is of such a nature that ,if permitted, it would defeat the provisions of any law; or

3. Is fraudulent; or

4. Involves and implies injury to the person or property of another; or

5. The 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.

JMM KLELC


Illustrations
Illustrations not

A agrees to sell his house to B for Rs. 10,000. Here B's promise to pay the sum of Rs. 10,000 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 Rs. 10,000.

These are lawful considerations.

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.

They are lawful considerations.

JMM KLELC


Indian contract act 1872

A notpromises, 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

These are lawful considerations.

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.

JMM KLELC


Indian contract act 1872

A not, 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.

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.

JMM KLELC


Indian contract act 1872

A not, 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.

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.

JMM KLELC


Indian contract act 1872

A's notestate 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.

JMM KLELC


Indian contract act 1872

A not, 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, because it is immoral

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.)

JMM KLELC


Analysis of s 23
Analysis of S. 23 not

  • Object or Consideration

  • The section covers legality of consideration and object as well.

  • Object and consideration sometimes may be different – both shall be lawful

  • Eg. loan for child marriage – consideration lawful but object unlawful -defeats the purpose of CMRA

JMM KLELC



Forbidden by law
Forbidden by notLaw

  • Object of an agreement forbidden by law is void

  • ‘Law’ – law in force in India, personal laws unwritten principles of law

  • Eg. Sale of liquor without license is void & price irrecoverable

  • Eg. License to run liquor shop – sale, transfer, sub-lease of license or creation of partnership to run liquor shop – agreement of partnership void

  • Eg. An agreement to by goods (jaggery powder) above control price is void

JMM KLELC


Defeat the provision of any law
Defeat the provision of any law not

  • Object or consideration of an agreement is such that though it is not directly prohibited, if permitted, would defeat the provision of any law, such agreement is also void.

  • Sundersingh v. krishnasingh

    agreement by the accused with surety for providing security under Cr. P.C.– void

  • Agreement to defeat the law of a friendly country is also void

  • Foster v. Driscoll– Agreement to buy whisky in Great Britain & to smuggle it in to US

    • led to commission of offence in a foreign & friendly country – breach of international comity – hence void.

JMM KLELC


Indian contract act 1872

  • But innocent notviolation of municipal or foreign law which may not offend public conscience, may not make the agreement void

    Howard v. Shirlaster Container Transport Ltd

    Owner of an aircraft agreed with the pt for successfully removing his aircraft from Nigerian territorial airspace. Pt did so without permission of the Nigerian authorities and landed it in Ivory coast. The pt did so under the belief that there was imminent danger to lives in Nigeria. Pt sued for fees –

    Held: allowed to recover. Although court would not normally enforce a contract to enable a pt to benefit from his criminal conduct, because to do so, would offend public conscience. There are circumstances, it would be wrong to disqualify a person from recovering, even though his conduct constituted statutory offence.

JMM KLELC


Fraudulent
Fraudulent not

  • An agreement made for a fraudulent purpose to deceive third parties is void

  • Eg. Agreement with debtor and creditor that the creditor would get separate commission for inducing other creditors to enter into composition of their debts.

  • Eg. Two decree holders - Pt, decree holder with property attachment brought it to sale – agreed with the dt to buy for lesser price and then pay him a sum – property was knocked down to dt for a small price.

    Held, agreement void, it deprived the other decree holder of what he would have got if the sale had been competitive.

JMM KLELC


Injury to person or property
Injury to person or property not

  • An agreement to injure the person or property of another is unlawful and void

  • Eg. A person barrowed a sum of Rs. 100 and agreed to serve pt for 2 yrs without pay and in case of default to pay the exorbitant interest and principal at once.

    Held, it involved slavery and unlawful and void

  • agreement to commit assault, hurt, defamation, etc

  • Eg. Agreement of insurance – insured committing suicide to help dependents

    • void.

JMM KLELC


Immoral
Immoral not

  • Agreement tainted immorality is not enforced

  • “Immorality” depends on standards of morality prevailing in a society at a given time and as approved by courts.

  • Instances of immorality-

    • Interference with marital relations

  • Eg. Money lent to a married woman to enable her to get divorce from her husband and promise to marry the lender

    • void

  • Promise to marry a woman after her husband’s death

    • void

JMM KLELC


Immoral1
Immoral not

Fender v. St. John – dt a married man told a nurse that he was unhappy with his wife and enquired whether she would marry him if his wife divorces him – she consented, sexual relations took place – dt’s wife secured decree of divorce on the ground of adultery – dt committed breach and married another

HELD: pt was allowed to claim compensation – circumstances leading to mischief were absent hence not immoral.

JMM KLELC


Indian contract act 1872

2. Dealings with notProstitutes

  • Always considered immoral

  • Eg. sale/hiring of goods to a prostitute for enabling her to carry on her business

  • void

  • Landlord knowingly letting his house for carrying on the business of prostitution

  • void

JMM KLELC


Indian contract act 1872

3. Illegal cohabitation not

England – past consideration not valid – if promise in writing to pay for illegal cohabitation

India – promise to pay for-

Adulterous cohabitation, past/ present/future – void

Future cohabitation – void

Past cohabitation to secure it in future – void

Past cohabitation only – valid

JMM KLELC


Opposed to public policy
Opposed to public policy not

  • An agreement is unlawful if the court regards its object or consideration as opposed to ‘publicpolicy’

  • ‘publicpolicy’ – vague & unsatisfactory term.

  • TEST: “the twin touchstones of public policy are,

    • advancement of public good and

    • prevention of public mischief.

      These questions have to be decided by judges not as men of legal learning but as experienced and enlightened members of the community representing the highest common factor of public sentiment and intelligence”

  • Eg. Surrender of rights, sale of seats in public offices, etc.

JMM KLELC



1 trading with an enemy
1. Trading with an enemy not

Object of war is to cripple the commerce of enemy country

A declaration of war imports prohibition of commercial intercourse and correspondence with the inhabitants of enemy country.

Illegal except with the permission of the Crown.

JMM KLELC


2 trafficking in public offices
2. Trafficking in Public offices not

An agreement with a public officer to act corruptly is contrary to public policy.

Agreement to provide money to a parliamentarian to influence his judgment

sale of public offices in consideration of money .

JMM KLELC



4 marriage brokerage contracts
4. Marriage brokerage contracts not

An agreement to procure marriage of a person in consideration of money – void

Agreement for the sale of girl – void

Attempt to make any material gain out of marriage is equally opposed public policy and void

Gifts promised at the time of marriage – void

JMM KLELC


5 unfair and unreasonable dealings
5. Unfair and unreasonable dealings not

Where-

  • Parties economically are not on same footing

  • Unequal bargaining power

  • One in a position to exploit and the other is vulnerable

  • Bargain is apparently unfair

    • Opposed to public policy

  • Eg. Service contracts.

  • JMM KLELC