Position of Minor, Indian Contract Act 1872 Notes

Position of Minor
Indian Contract Act 1872 Notes

Minor and his Position

As per section 3 of the Indian Majority Act of 1875, every person in India is a minor if he has not attained the age of 18 years of age. However, in case of a minor of whose person or property or both a guardian has been appointed under the Guardian and Wards Act, 1890 or whose property is under the superintendence of any court of wards before he attains 18 years of age is 21 years.

The position of minor as regards his agreements may be summed up as under:

1. An agreement with or by a minor is void and inoperative ab initio.

2. He can be a promise or a beneficiary.  Incapacity of a minor to enter into a contract means incapacity to bind him by a contract. There is nothing which debars him from becoming a beneficiary.

3. His agreement cannot be ratified by him on attaining the age of majority.

4. If he has received any benefit under a void agreement, he cannot be asked to compensate or pay for it. Sec. 65 which provides for restitution in case of agreements discovered to be void does not apply to a minor.

5. There can be no specific performance of the agreement entered into by him as they are void ab ignition. A contract entered into on his behalf by his parent/guardian or the manager of his estate can be specifically enforced by or against the minor provided the contract is (a) within the scope of the authority.

6. He cannot enter into a contract of partnership. But he may be admitted to the benefits of an already existing partnership with the consent of the other partners.

7. He cannot be adjudged insolvent. This is because he is incapable of contracting debts.

8. He can be an agent. A minor can be appointed an agent, but he is not personally liable for any of his acts.

9. His parents/guardian are/is not liable for the contracts entered into by him, even though the contract is for the supply of necessaries to the minor. But if the minor is acting as an agent for the parents/guardian the parents/guardian shall be liable under the contract.

Minor’s liability for necessaries: Section 68 provides that a minor is liable to pay out of his property for ‘necessaries’ supplied to him or to his minor dependents whom is legally bound to support. It is important to note here that it is only the minor’s property which is liable for meeting the liability arising from such contracts and the minor is not personally liable. Necessaries would include:

a) necessary goods that are (i) suitable to the position and financial status of the minor, and (ii) necessaries both at the time of sale and at the time of delivery.

b) Services rendered that are required for the living and maintenance of the minor. e.g. Education, training for a trade, legal advice, etc.

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