MOHORI BIBEE v. DHARMODAS GHOSE (1903): CASE COMMENT
Author: Ankita Karn, REVA University, Bangalore
Mohori Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose (1903): Case Comments
Appellant: Mohori Bibee
Respondent: Dharmodas Ghose
Advocate for Appellant: Watkins
Advocate for Respondent: W.W. Box
Court: Calcutta High Court
Judge: Lord McNaughton, Lord Davey, Lord Lindley, Sir Ford Noth, Sir Andrew Scoble, Sir Andrew Wilson.
Decided On: 4th March 1903
Acts: Indian Evidence Act, 1877 and Indian Contract Act.
- Dharmodas (plaintiff) has mortgaged his property in favour of Brahmo Dutt(defendant) when he was a minor.
- Brahmo Dutt was a money lender in Calcutta. He took a loan of Rs 20,000 from him. In order to take the loan, he mortgaged his house as security.
- The transaction was done when Brahmo Dutt was not there and it was done by his attorney named, Kedar Nath, who had the knowledge of the plaintiff is a minor.
- The actual amount of loan given was less than Rs. 20,000.
- On September 10, 1895, Dharmodas along with his mother filed a suit against Brahmo Dutt stating that the mortgage that was executed by Dharmodas was commenced when he was a minor.
- Further, contended that the contract with a minor is void and such a contract should be rescinded and revoked.
- When this petition was in process, Brahmo Dutt had died and the further proceedings were done by his executor’s.
- What is the nature of a minor’s agreement?
- Whether the deed was void under section 2, 10(5), 11(6) of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 or not?
- Whether the mortgaged commenced was avoidable or not?
The judgment given was that the minors have no eligibility to enter into a contract under Section 11 of the contract act. Section 11 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 says that “Every person is competent to contract who is of the age of majority according to the law to which he/she is subjected to. Hence, any contract with a minor is void ab initio. It is said that all the requirements under Section 11 have to be fulfilled in order to constitute a valid contract.
Further, it was held that the contract with the minor is void. The minor has no capacity to contract and the mortgage was invalid. The minor cannot be compelled to repay the amount advanced to him because he is not bound by any sort of promise made by him under the contract. Also, the law of estoppels is not used for the minor.