Indian Contract Act, 1872
[Act No. 9 of Year 1872, dated 25th. April, 1872]
1. Short title
This Act may be called be the Indian Contract Act, 1872.
Extent, commencement – It extends to the whole of except the State of Jammu and Kashmir; and it shall come into force on the first day of September, 1872.
Enactment repealed – [***] Nothing herein contained shall affect the provisions of any Statute, Act or Regulation not hereby expressly repealed, nor any usage or customs of trade, nor any incident of any contract, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act.
2. Interpretation -clause
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 a view to obtaining the assent of that other to such act or abstinence, he is said to make a proposal;
(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 making the proposal is called the “promisor”, and the person accepting the proposal is called “promisee”,
(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;
(i) An agreement which is enforceable by law at the option of one or more of the parties thereto, but not at the option of the other or others, is a voidable contract;
(j) A contract which ceases to be enforceable by law becomes void when it ceases to be enforceable.
OF COMMUNICATION, ACCEPTANCE AND REVOCATION OF PROPOSALS
3. Communication, acceptance and revocation of proposals
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 party proposing, accepting or revoking, by which he intends to communicated such proposal, acceptance or revocation, or which has the effect of communicating it.
4. Communication when complete
The communication of a proposal is complete when it becomes 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 at 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.
5. Revocation of Proposals and acceptance
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.
6. Revocation how made
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 fulfill 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 the acceptor before acceptance.
7. Acceptance must be absolute
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.
8. Acceptance by performing conditions, or receiving consideration
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.
9. Promise, express and implied
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.
OF CONTRACTS, VOIDABLE CONTRACTS, AND VOID AGREEMENTS
10. What agreements are contracts
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 India, and not hereby expressly repealed, by which any contract is required to be made in writing or in the presence of witnesses, or any law relating to the registration of documents.
11. Who are competent to contract
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.
12. What is a sound mind for the purposes of contracting
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.
13. “Consent” defined
Two or more person are said to consent when they agree upon the same thing in the same sense.
14. “Free consent” defined
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.
15. “Coercion” defined
“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.
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)
17. “fraud defined
“Fraud” means and includes any of the following acts committed by a party to a contract, or with his connivance, or by his agents, 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.
18. “Misrepresentation” defined
“Misrepresentation” means and includes –
(1) the positive assertion, in a manner not warranted by the information of the person making it, of that which is 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.
19. Voidability of agreements without free consent
When consent to an agreement is caused by coercion, [***] fraud 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 misrepresentation or by silence, fraudulent within the meaning of section 17, the contract, nevertheless, 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.
20. Agreement void where both parties are under mistake as to matter of fact
Explanation : An erroneous opinion as to the value of the things which forms the subject-matter of the agreement,is not be deemed a mistake as to a matter of fact.
21. Effect of mistake as to law
A contract is not voidable because it was caused by a mistake as to any law in force in India; but mistake as to a law not in force in India has the same effect as a mistake of fact.
22. Contract caused by mistake of one party as to matter of fact
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.
23. What consideration and objects are lawful, and what not
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.
24. Agreements void, if consideration are objects unlawful in part
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.
25. Agreement without consideration, void, unless it is in writing and registered or is a promise to compensate for something done or is a promise to pay a debt barred by limitation law
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 of documents, 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.
26. Agreement in restraint of marriage, void
Every agreement in restraint of the marriage of any person, other than a minor, is void.
27. Agreement in restraint of trade, 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.[***]
28. Agreements in restrain of legal proceedings, void
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.
29. Agreements void for uncertainty
Agreements, the meaning of which is not certain, or capable of being made certain, are void.
30. Agreements by way of wager, 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 Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) apply.
OF CONTINGENT CONTRACTS
31. “Contingent contract” defined
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.
32. Enforcement of Contracts contingent on an event happening
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.
33. Enforcement of contract contingent on an event not happening
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.
34. When event on which contract is contingent to be deemed impossible, if it is the future conduct of a living person
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.
35. When contracts become void, which are contingent on happening of specified event within fixed time
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.
36. Agreements contingent on impossible event void
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.
OF PERFORMANCE OF CONTRACTS, CONTRACTS WHICH MUST BE PERFORMED
37. Obligations of parties to contract
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.
38. Effect of refusal to accept offer of performance
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.
39. Effect of refusal of party to perform promise wholly
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.
40. Person by whom promises is to be performed
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.
41. Effect of accepting performance from this person
When a promisee accepts performance of the promise from a third person, he cannot afterwards enforce it against the promisor.
42. Devolution of joint liabilities
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.
43. Any one of joint promisors may be compelled to perform
When two or more persons make a joint promise, the promise may, in the absence of express agreements to the contrary, compel any one 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 must 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.
44. Effect of release of one joint promisor
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.
45. Devolution of joint rights
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.
46. Time for performance of promise, where no application is to be made and no time is specified
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.
47. Time and place for performance of promise, where time is specified and no application to be made
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.
48. Application for performance on certain day to be at proper time and place
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.
49. Place for the performance of promise, where no application to be made and no place fixed for performance
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.
50. Performance in manner or at time prescribed or sanctioned by promise
The performance of any promise may be made in any manner, or at any time which the promisee prescribes or sanctions.
51. Promisor not bound to perform, unless reciprocal promisee ready and willing to perform
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.
52. Order of performance of reciprocal promises
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.
53. Liability of party preventing event on which contract is to take effect
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 from the other party for any loss which he may sustain in consequence of the non-performance of the contract.
54. Effect of default as to the promise which should be performed, in contract consisting or reciprocal promises
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.
55. Effect of failure to perform a fixed time, in contract in which time is essential
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.
56. Agreement to do impossible act
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.
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.
57. Reciprocal promise to do things legal, and also other things illegal
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.
58. Alternative promise, one branch being illegal
In the case of an alternative promise, one branch of which is legal and other other illegal, the legal branch alone can be enforced.
59. Application of payment where debt to be discharged is indicated
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.
60. Application of payment where debt to be discharged is not indicated
Where the debtor has omitted 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.
61. Application of payment where neither party appropriates
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.
62. Effect of novation, rescission, and alteration of contract
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.
63. Promise may dispense with or remit performance of promise
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, or may accept instead of it any satisfaction which he thinks fit.
64. Consequence of rescission of voidable contract
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.
65. Obligation of person who has received advantage under void agreement, or contract that becomes void
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.
66. Mode of communicating or revoking rescission of voidable contract
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.
67. Effect of neglect or promise to afford promisor reasonable facilities for performance
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.
OF CERTAIN RELATIONS RESEMBLING THOSE CREATED BY CONTRACT
68. Claim for necessaries supplied to person incapable of contracting, or on his account
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.
69. Reimbursement of person paying money due by another, in payment of which he is interested
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.
70. Obligation of person enjoying benefit of non-gratuitous act
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.
71. Responsibility of finder of goods
A person who finds goods belonging to another, and takes them into his custody, is subject to the same responsibility as a bailee.
72. Liability of person to whom money is paid, or thing delivered, by mistake or under coercion
A person to whom money has been paid, or anything delivered, by mistake or under coercion, must repay or return it.
OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF BREACH OF CONTRACT
73. Compensation of loss or damage caused by breach of contract
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.
74. Compensation of breach of contract where penalty stipulated for
When a contract has been broken, if a sum is named in the contract as the amount 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 or 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.
Explanation :When any person enters into any bail bond, recognisance or other instrument of the same nature or, under the provisions of any law, or under the orders of the Central Government or of any 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.
75. Party rightfully rescinding contract, entitled to compensation
A person who rightfully rescinds a contract is entitled to consideration for any damage which he has sustained through the non fulfillment of the contract.
Chapter VII, comprising sections 76-123, is repealed by the Sale of Goods Act(3 OF 1930), section 65
OF INDEMNITY AND GUARANTEE
124. “Contract of indemnity” defined
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”.
125. Right of indemnity-holder when sued
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.
126. “Contract of guarantee”, “surety”, “principal debtor” and “creditor”
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.
127. Consideration for guarantee
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.
128. Surety’s liability
The liability of the surety is co-extensive with that of the principal debtor, unless it is otherwise provided by the contract.
129. Continuing guarantee
A guarantee which extends to a series of transaction, is called, a “continuing guarantee”.
130. Revocation of continuing guarantee
A continuing guarantee may at any time be revoked by the surety, as to future transactions, by notice to the creditor.
131. Revocation of continuing guarantee by surety’ death
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.
132. Liability of two persons, primarily liable, not affected by arrangement between them that one shall be surety on other’s default
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.
133. Discharge of surety by variance in terms of contract
Any variance made without the surety’s consent, in the terms of the contract between the principal [debtor] and the creditor, discharges the surety as to transactions subsequent to the variance.
134. Discharge of surety by release or discharge of principal debtor
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.
135. Discharge of surety when creditor compounds with, gives time to, or agrees not to sue, principal debtor
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.
136. Surety not discharged when agreement made with third person to give time to principal debtor
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.
137. Creditor’s forbearance to sue does not discharge surety
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.
138. Release of one co-surety does not discharge other
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.
139. Discharge of surety by creditor’s act or omission impairing surety’s eventual remedy
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.
140. Rights of surety on payment or performance
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.
141. Surety’s right to benefit of creditor’s securities
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.
142. Guarantee obtained by misrepresentation, invalid
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.
144. Guarantee on contract that creditor shall not act on it until co-surety joins
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.
145. Implied promise to indemnify surety
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.
146. Co-sureties liable to contribute equally
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.
147. Liability of co-sureties bound in different sums
Co-sureties who are bound in different sums are liable to pay equally as far as the limits of their respective obligations permit.
148. “Bailment”, “bailor” and “bailee” defined
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 direction 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 already in possession of the goods of other contracts 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.
149. Delivery to bailee how made
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.
150. Bailor’s duty to disclose faults in goods bailed
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.
151. 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.
152. 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.
153. Termination of bailment by bailee’s act inconsistent with conditions
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.
154. Liability of bailee making unauthorised use of goods bailed
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
155. Effect of mixture with bailor’s consent, of his goods with bailee’s
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.
156. Effect of mixture, without bailor’s consent, when the goods can be separated
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.
157. Effect of mixture, without bailor’s consent, when the goods cannot be separated
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.
158. Repayment, by bailor, of necessary expenses
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.
159. Restoration of goods lent gratuitously
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.
160. Return of goods bailed, on expiration of time or a accomplishment of purpose
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.
161. 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.
162. Termination of gratuitous bailment by death
A gratuitous bailment is terminated by the death either of the bailor or of the bailee.
163. Bailer entitled to increase or profit from goods bailed
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.
164. Bailor’s responsibility to bailee
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
165. Bailment by several joint owners
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.
166. Bailee not responsible on redelivery to bailor without title
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 deliver.
167. Right of third person claiming goods bailed
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.
168. Right to finder of goods may sue for specified reward offered
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.
169. When finder of thing commonly on sale may sell 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.
170. Bailee’s particular lien
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.
171. General lien of bankers, factors, wharfinger, attorneys and policy brokers
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.
172. “Pledge”, “Pawnor”, and “Pawnee” defined
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”.
173. Pawnee’s right of retainer
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.
174. Pawnee not to retain for debt or promise other than for which goods pledged – presumption in case of subsequent advances
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.
175. Pawnee’s right as to extraordinary expenses incurred
The pawnee is entitled to receive from the pawnor extraordinary expenses incurred by him for the preservation of the goods pledged.
176. Pawnee’s right where pawnor makes default
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.
177. Defaulting pawnor’s right to redeem
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; but he must, on that case, pay, in addition, any expenses which have arisen from his default.
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).
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.
179. Pledge where pawnor has only a limited interest
Where person pledges goods in which he has only a limited interest, the pledge is valid to the extent of that interest.
180. Suit by bailor or bailee against wrong-doer
If a third person wrongfully deprives the bailee of the use of possession of goods bailed, or does them any injury, the bailee is entitled to use such remedies as the owner might have used in the like case if no bailment has been made; and either the bailor or the bailee may bring a suit against a third person for such deprivation or injury.
181. Appointment of relief or compensation obtained by such suit
Whatever is obtained by way of relief of compensation in any such suit shall, as between the bailor and the bailee, be dealt with according to their respective interests.
182. “Agent” and “principal” defined
An “agent” is a person employed to do any act for another, or to represent another in dealing with third persons. The person for whom such act is done, or who is so represented, is called the “principal”.
183. Who may employ agent
Any person who is of the age of majority according to the law to which he is subject, and who is of sound mind, may employ an agent.
184. Who may be an agent
As between the principal and third persons, any person may become an agent, but no person who is not of the age of majority and sound mind can become an agent, so as to be responsible to the principal according to the provisions in that behalf herein contained.
185. Consideration not necessary
No consideration is necessary to create an agency;
186. Agent’s authority may be expressed or implied
The authority of an agent may be expressed or implied.
187. Definitions of express and implied
An authority is said to be express when it is given by words spoken or written. An authority is said to be implied when it is to be inferred from the circumstances of the case; and things spoken or written, or the ordinary course of dealing, may be accounted circumstances of the case.
188. Extent of agent’s authority
An agent, having an authority to do an act, has authority do every lawful thing which is necessary in order to do so such act.An agent having an authority to carry on a business, has authority to do every lawful thing necessary for the purpose, or usually done in the course, of conducting such business.
189. Agent’s authority in an emergency
An agent has authority, in an emergency, to do all such acts for the purpose of protecting his principal from loss and would be done by a person or ordinary prudence, in his own case, under similar circumstances.
190. When agent cannot delegate
An agent cannot lawful employ another to perform acts which he has expressly or impliedly undertaken to perform personally, unless by the ordinary custom of trade a sub-agent may, or, from the nature or agency, a sub-agent must, be employed.
191. “Sub-agent” defined
A “sub-agent” is a person employed by, and acting undue the control of, the original agent in the business of the agency.
192. Representation of principal by sub-agent properly appointed
Where a sub-agent is properly appointed, the principal is, so far as regards third persons, represented by the sub-agent, and is bound by and responsible for his acts, as if he were an agent originally appointed by the principal.Agent’s responsibility for sub-agent: The agent is responsible to the principal for the acts of the sub-agent.Sub-agent’s responsibility: The sub-agent is responsible for his acts to the agent, but not to the principal, except in cases of fraud, or wilful wrong.
193. Agent’s responsibility for sub-agent appointed without authority
Where an agent, without having authority to do so, has appointed a person to act as a sub-agent stands towards such person in the relation of a principal to an agent, and is responsible for his act both to the principal and to third person; the principal is not represented, by or responsible for the acts of the person so employed, nor is that person responsible to the principal.
194. Relation between principal and person duly appointed by agent to act in business of agency
When an agent, holding an express or implied authority to name another person to act for the principal in the business of the agency, has named another person accordingly, such person is not a sub-agent, but an agent of the principal for such part of the business of the agency as is entrusted to him.
195. Agent’s duty in naming such person
In selecting such agent for his principal, an agent is bound to exercise the same amount of discretion as a man or ordinary prudence would exercise in his own case; and, if he does this, he is not responsible to the principal for the acts of negligence of the agent so selected.
(a) A instructs B, a merchant, to buy a ship for him. B employs a ship-surveyor of good reputation to choose a ship for A. The surveyor makes the choice negligently and the ship turns out to be unseaworthy and is lost. B is not, but the surveyor is, responsible to A.
(b) A consigns goods to B, a merchant, for sale. B, in due course, employes an auctioneer in good credit to sell the goods of A, and allows the auctioneer to receive the proceeds of the sale. The auctioneer afterwards becomes insolvent without having accounted for the proceeds. B is not responsible to A for the proceeds.
196. Right of person as to acts done for him without his authority-effect of ratification
Where acts are done by one person on behalf of another,but without his knowledge or authority, he may elect to ratify or to disown such acts. If he ratifies them, the same effects will follow as if they had been performed by his authority.
197. Ratification may be expressed or implied
Ratification may be expressed or may be implied in the conduct of the person on whose behalf the acts are done.
(a) A, without authority, buys goods, for B. Afterwards B sells them to C on his own account; B’s conduct implies a ratification of the purchase made for him by A.
(b) A, without B’s authority, lends B’s money to C. Afterwards B accepts interest on the money from C. B’s conduct implies a ratification of the loan.
198. Knowledge requisite for valid ratification
No valid ratification can be made by a person whose knowledge of the facts of the case is materially defective.
199. Effect of ratifying unauthorised act forming part of a transaction
A person ratifying any unauthorised act done on his behalf ratifies the whole of the transaction of which such act formed a part.
200. Ratification of unauthorised act cannot injure third person
An act done by one person on behalf of another, without such other person’s authority, which, if done with authority would have the effect of subjecting a third person to damages, or of terminating any right to interest of a third person cannot, by ratification, be made to have such effect.
(a) A, not being authorised thereto by B, demands, on behalf of B, the delivery of a chattel, the property of B, from C who is in possession of it. This demand cannot be ratified by B, so as to make C liable for damages for his refusal to deliver.
(b) A holds a lease from B, terminable on three months’ notice. C, an unauthorised person, gives notice of termination to A. The notice cannot be ratified by B, so as to be binding on A.
REVOCATION OF AUTHORITY
201. Termination of agency
An agency is terminated by the principal revoking his authority, or by the agent renouncing the business of the agency; or by the business of the agency being completed; or by either the principal or agent dying or becoming of unsound mind; or by the principal being adjudicated an insolvent under the provisions of any Act for the time being in force for the relief of insolvent debtors.
202. Termination of agency, where agent has an interest in subject-matter
Where the agent has himself an interest in the property which forms the subject-matter of the agency, the agency cannot, in the absence of an express contract, be terminated to the prejudice of such interest.
(a) A, gives authority to B to sell A’s land, and to pay himself, out of the proceeds, the debts due to him from A.A cannot revoke this authority,nor can it be terminated by his insanity or death.
(b) A consigns 1,000 bales of cotton to be, who has made advances to him on such cotton, and desires B to sell the cotton, and to repay himself out of the price the amount of his own advances. A cannot revoke this authority, not is it terminated by his insanity or death.
203. When principal may revoke agent’s authority
The principal may, save as is otherwise provided by the last preceding section, revoke the authority given to his agent at any time before the authority has been exercised, so as to bind the principal.
204. Revocation where authority has been partly exercised
The principal cannot revoke the authority given to his agent after the authority has been partly exercised, so far as regards such acts and obligations as arise from acts already done in the agency.
(a) A authorises B to buy, 1,000 bales of cotton on account of A and to pay for it out of A’s money remaining in B’s hands. B buys, 1,000 bales of cotton in his own name, so as to make himself personally liable for the price. A cannot revoke B’s authority so far as regards payment for the cotton.
(b) A authorises B to buy 1,000 bales of cotton on account of A, and to pay for it out of A’s money remaining in B’ s hands. B buys 1,000 bales of cotton in A’ s name, and so as not to render himself personally liable for the price. A can revoke B’s authority to pay for the cotton.
205. Compensation for revocation by principal, or renunciation by agent
Where there is an express or implied contract that the agency should be continued for any period of time, the principal must make compensation to the agent, or the agent to the principal, as the case may be, for any previous revocation or renunciation of the agency without sufficient cause.
206. Notice of revocation or renunciation
Reasonable notice must be given of such revocation or renunciation, otherwise the damage thereby resulting to the principal or the agent, as the case may be, must be made good to the one by the other.
207. Revocation and renunciation may be expressed or implied
Revocation or renunciation may be expressed or may be implied in the conduct of that principal or agent respectively.
A empowers B to let A’s house. Afterwards A lets it himself. This is an implied revocation of B’s authority.
208. When termination of agent’s authority takes effect as to agent, and as to third persons
The termination of the authority of an agent does not, so far as regards the agent, take effect before it becomes known to him, or, so far as regards third persons, before it becomes known to them.
(a) A directs B to sell goods for him, and agrees to give B five per cent commission on the price fetched by the goods. A afterwards by letter, revokes B’s authority. B after the letter is sent, but before he receives it,sells the goods for 100rupees. The sale is binding on A,and B is entitled to five rupees as his commission.
(b) A, at Madras, by letter directs B to sell for him some cotton lying in a warehouse in Bombay, and afterwards, by letter, revokes, his authority to sell, and directs B to send the cotton to Madras. B after receiving the second letter, enters into a contract with C, who knows of the first letter, but not o the second, for the sale to him of the cotton. C pays B the money, with which B absconds. C’s payment is good as against A.
(c) A directs B, his agent, to pay certain money to C. A dies, and D takes out probate to his will. B, after A’s death, but before hearing of it, pays the money to C. The payment is good as against D, the executor.
209. Agent’s duty on termination of agency by principal’s death or insanity
When an agency is terminated by the principal dying or becoming of unsound mind, the agent is bound to take on behalf of the representative, of his late principal, all reasonable steps for the protection and reservation of the interests entrusted to him.
210. Termination of sub-agent’s authority
The termination of the authority of an agent causes the termination (subject to the rules herein contained regarding the termination of an agent’s authority) of the authority of all sub-agents appointed by him.
AGENT’S DUTY TO PRINCIPAL
211. Agent’s duty in conducting principal’s business
An agent is bound to conduct the business of his principal according to the directions given by the principal, or in the absence of any such directions according to the customs which prevails in doing business of the same kind at the place where the agent conducts such business. When the agent acts otherwise, if any loss be sustained, he must make it good to his principal and if any profit accrues, he must account for it.
(a) A, an agent engaged in carrying on for B a business, in which it is the custom to invest from time to time, at interest, the moneys which may be in hand, on its to make such investment. A must make good to B the interest usually obtained by such investments.
(b) B, a broker in whose business it is not the custom to sell on credit, sells goods of A on credit to C, whose credit at the time was very high. C, before payment, becomes insolvent. B must make good the loss to A.
212. Skill and diligence required from agent
An agent is bound to conduct the business of the agency with as much skill as is generally possessed by person engaged in similar business unless the principal has notice of his want of skill. The agent is always bound to act with reasonable diligence, and to use such skill as he possesses; and to make compensation to his principal in respect of the direct consequences of his own neglect, want of skill, or misconduct, but not in respect of loss or damage which are indirectly or remotely caused by such neglect, want of skill, or misconduct.
(a) A, a merchant in Calcutta, has an agent, B, in London, to whom a sum of money is paid on A’s account, with order to remit. B retains the money for considerable time. A, in consequence of not receiving the money, becomes insolvent. B is liable for the money and interest, from the day on which it ought to have been paid, according to the usual rate, and for any further direct loss as, e.g., by variation of rate of exchange-but not further.
(b) A, an agent for the sale of goods, having authority to sell on credit, sells to B in credit, without making the proper and usual enquiries as to the solvency of B. B at the time of such sale, is insolvent. A must make compensation to his principal in respect of any loss thereby sustained.
(c) A, an insurance-broker employed by B to effect an insurance on a ship, omits to see that the usual clauses are inserted in the policy. The ship is afterwards lost. In consequence of the omission of the clauses nothing can be recovered from the underwriters. A is bound to make good the loss to B.
(d) A, merchant in England, directs B, his agent at Bombay, who accepts the agency, to send him 100 bales of cotton by a certain ship. B, having it in his power to send the cotton, omits to do so. The ship arrives safely in England. Soon after her arrival the price of cotton rises. B is bound to make good to A the profit which he might have made by the 100 bales of cotton at the time the ship arrived, but not any profit he might have made by the subsequent rise.
213. Agent’s accounts
An agent is bound to render proper accounts to his principal on demand.
214. Agent’s, duty to communicate with principal
It is the duty of an agent in case of difficulty, to use all reasonable diligence in communicating with his principal, and in seeking to obtain his instructions.
215. Right of principal when agent deals, on his own account, in business of agency without principal’s consent
If an agent deals on his own account in the business of the agency, without first obtaining the consent of his principal and acquainting him with all material circumstances which have come to his own knowledge on the subject, the principal may repudiate the transaction, if the case shows, either that any material fact has been dishonestly concealed from him by the agent, or that the dealings of the agent have been disadvantageous to him.
(a) A direct B to sell A’s estate. B buys the estate for himself in the name of C. A, on discovering that B has bought the estate for himself, may repudiate the sale, if he can show that B has dishonestly concealed any material fact, or that the seals has been disadvantageous to him.
(b) A directs B to sell A’s estate. B, on looking over the estate before selling it, finds a mine on the estate which is unknown to A. B informs A that he wished to buy the estate for himself but conceals the discovery of the mine. A allows B to buy, in ignorance of the existence of the mine. A, on discovering that B knew of the mine at the time he bought the estate, may either repudiate or adopt the sale at his option.
216. Principal’s right to benefit gained by agent dealing on his own account in business of agency
If an agent, without the knowledge of his principal, deals in the business of the agency on his own account instead of on account to his principal, the principal is entitled to claim from the agent any benefit which may have resulted to him from the transaction.
A directs B, his agent, to buy a certain house for him. B tells A it cannot be bought, and buys the house for himself. A may, on discovering that B has bought the house, compels him to sell it to A at the price he gave for it.
217. Agent’s right of retainer out of sums received on principal’s account
An agent may retain, out of any sums received on account of the principal in the business of the agency, all moneys due to himself in respect of advances made or expenses properly incurred by him in conducting such business, and also such remuneration as may be payable to him for acting as agent.
218. Agent’s duty to pay sums received for principal
Subject to such deductions, the agent is bound to pay to his principal all sums received on his account.
219. When agent’s remuneration becomes due
In the absence of any special contract, payment for the performance of any act is not due to the agent until the completion of such act; but an agent may detain moneys received by him on account of goods sold, although the whole of the goods consigned to him for sale may not have been sold, or although the sale may not be actually complete.
220. Agent not entitled to remuneration for business misconducted
An agent who is guilty of misconduct in the business of the agency, is not entitled to any remuneration in respect of that part of the business which he has misconducted.
(a) A employs B to recover 1, 00,000 rupees from C, and to lay it out on good security. B recovers the 1,00,000 rupees and lays out 90,000 rupees on good security, but lays out 10,000 rupees on security which he ought to have known to be bad, whereby A loses 2,000 rupees. B is entitled to remuneration for recovering the 1,00,000 rupees and for investing the 90,000 rupees. He is not entitled to any remuneration for investing the 10,000 rupees, and he must make good the 2,000 rupees to B.
(b) A employs B to recover 1,000 rupees from C. Through B’s misconduct the money is not recovered. B is entitled to no remuneration for his services and must make good the loss.
221. Agent’s lien on principal’s property
In the absence of any contract to the contrary, an agent is entitled to retain goods, papers, and other property, whether movable or immovable of the principal received by him, until the amount due to himself for commission, disbursements and services in respect of the same has been paid or accounted for to him.
PRINCIPAL’S DUTY TO AGENT
222. Agent to be indemnified against consequences of lawful acts
The employer of an agent is bound to indemnify him against the consequences of all lawful acts done by such agent in exercise of the authority conferred upon him.
(a) B, at Singapore under instructions from A of Calcutta, contracts with C to deliver certain goods to him. A does not send the goods to B, and C sues B for breach of contract. B informs A of the suit, and A authorises him to defend the suit. B defends the suit, and is compelled to pay damages and costs, and incurs expenses. A is liable to B for such damages, costs and expenses.
(b) B, a broker at Calcutta, by the orders of A, a merchant there, contracts with C for the purchase of 10 caskes of oil for A. Afterwards A refuses to receive the oil, and C sues B. B informs A, who repudiates the contract altogether. B defends, but unsuccessfully, and has to pay damages and costs and incurs expenses. A is liable to B for such damages, costs and expenses.
223. Agent to be indemnified against consequences of acts done in good faith
Where one person employs another to do an act, and the agent does the act in good faith, the employer is liable to indemnify the agent against the consequences of that act, though it may cause an injury to the rights of third persons.
(a) A, a decree-holder and entitled to execution of B’s goods requires the officer of the court to seize certain goods, representing them to be the goods of B. The officer seizes the goods, and is sued by C, the true owner of the goods. A is liable to indemnify the officer for the sum which he is compelled to pay to C, in consequence of obeying A’s directions.
(b) B, at the request of A, sells goods in the possession of A, but which A had no right to dispose of. B does not know this, and hands over the proceeds of the sale to A. Afterwards C, the true owner of the goods, sues B and recovers the value of the goods and costs. A is liable to indemnify B for what he has been compelled to pay to C, and for B’s own expenses.
224. Non-liability of employer of agent to do a criminal act
Where one person employees another to do an act which is criminal, the employer is not liable to the agent, either upon an express or an implied promise to indemnify him against the consequences of that Act.
(a) A employs B to beat C, and agrees to indemnify him against all consequences of the act. B thereupon beats C, and has to pay damages to C for so doing. A is not liable to indemnify B for those damages.
(b) B, the proprietor of a newspaper, publishes, at A’s request, a libel upon C in the paper, and A agrees to indemnify B against the consequences of the publication, and all costs and damages of any action in respect thereof. B is sued by C and has to pay damages, and also incurs expenses. A is not liable to B upon the indemnity.
225. Compensation to agent for injury caused by principal’s neglect
The principal must make compensation to his agent in respect of injury caused to such agent by the principal’s neglect or want of skill.
A employs B as a bricklayer in building a house, and put up the scaffolding himself. The scaffolding is unskillfully put up, and B is in consequence hurt. A must make compensation to B.
EFFECT OF AGENCY ON CONTRACTS WITH THIRD PERSONS
226. Enforcement and consequences of agent’s contract
Contracts entered into through an agent, and obligations arising from acts done by an agent, may be enforced in the same manner, and will have the same legal consequences as if the contracts had been entered into the acts done by the principal in person.
(a) A buys goods from B, knowing that he is an agent for their sale, but not knowing who is the principal. B’s principal is the person entitled to claim from A the price of the goods, and A cannot, in a suit by the principal, set-off against that claim a debt due to himself from B.
(b) A, being B’s agent; with authority to receive money on his behalf, receives from C a sum of money due to B. C is discharged of his obligation to pay the sum in question to B.
227. Principal how far bound, when agent exceeds authority
When an agent does more than he is authorised to do, and when the part of what he does, which is within his authority, can be separated from the part which is beyond his authority, so much only of what he does as is within his authority is binding as between him and his principal.
A, being owner of a ship and cargo, authorises B to procure an insurance for 4,000 rupees on the ship. B procures a policy for 4,000 rupees on the ship, and another for the like sum on the cargo. A is bound to pay the premium for the policy on the ship, but not the premium for the policy on the cargo.
228. Principal not bound when excess of agent’s authority is not separable
Where an agent does more than he is authorised to do, and what he does beyond the scope of his authority cannot be separated from what is within it, the principal is not bound to recognise the transaction.
A authorises B to buy 500 sheep for him. B buys 500 sheep and 200 lambs for a sum of 6,000 rupees. A may repudiate the whole transaction.
229. Consequences of notice given to agent
Any notice given to or information obtained by the agent, provided it be given or obtained in the course of the business transacted by him for the principal, shall, as between the principal and third parties, have the same legal consequences as if it had been given to or obtained by the principal.
(a) A is employed by B to buy from C certain goods, of which C is the apparent owner, and buys them accordingly. In the course of the treaty for the sale, A learns that the goods really belonged to D, but B is ignorant of that fact B is not entitled to set-off a debt owing to him from C against the price of goods.
(b) A is employed by B to buy from C goods of which C is the apparent owner. A was, before he was so employed a servant of C, and then learnt that the goods really belonged to D, but B is ignorant of that fact. In spite of the knowledge of his agent, B may set-off against the price of the goods a debt owing to him from C.
230. Agent cannot personally enforce, nor be bound by, contracts on behalf of principal
In the absence of any contract to that effect an agent cannot personally enforce contracts entered into by him on behalf of his principal, nor is he personally bound by them.
Presumption of contract to the contrary: Such a contract shall be presumed to exit in the following cases-
(1) Where the contract is made by an agent for the sale or purchase of goods for a merchant resident abroad;
(2) Where agent does not disclose the name of his principal;
(3) Where the principal, though disclosed, cannot be sued.
231. Right of parties to a contract made by agent not disclosed
If an agent makes a contract with a person who neither, knows nor has reason to suspect, that he is an agent, his principal may require the performance of the contract; but the other contracting party has, as against the principal, the same right as he would have had as against if the agent had been the principal.
If the principal discloses himself before the contract is completed, the other contracting party may refuse to fulfil the contract, if he can show that, if he had known who was the principal in the contract, or if he had known that the agent was not a principal, he would not have entered into the contract.
232. Performance of contract with agent supposed to be principal
Where one man makes a contract with another, neither knowing nor having reasonable ground to suspect that the other is an agent, the principal, if he requires the performance of the contract, can only obtain such performance subject to the right and obligations subsisting between the agent and the other party of the contract.
A, who owes 500 rupees to B, sells, 1,000 rupees worth of rice to B. A is acting as agent for C in the transaction, but B has no knowledge nor reasonable ground of suspicion that such is the case. C cannot compel B to take the rice without allowing him to set-off A’s debt.
233. Right of person dealing with agent personally liable
In cases where the agent is personally liable, a person dealing with him may hold either him or his principal, or both of them liable.
A enters into a contract with B to sell him 100 bales of cotton, and afterwards, discovers that B was acting as agent for C. A may sue either B or C, or both, for the price of the cotton.
234. Consequence of inducing agent or principal to act on belief that principal or agent will be held exclusively liable
When a person who has made a contract with an agent induce the agent to act upon the belief that the principal only will be held liable, or induces the principal to act upon the belief that the agent only will be held liable, he cannot afterwards hold liable that agent or principal respectively.
235. Liability of pretended agent
A person untruly representing himself to be the authorised agent of another, and thereby including a third person to deal with him as such agent, is liable, if his alleged employer does not ratify his acts, to make compensation to the other in respect of any loss or damage which he has incurred by so dealing.
236. Person falsely contracting as agent, not entitled to performance
A person with whom a contract has been entered into in the character of agent, is not entitled to require the performance of it, if he was in reality acting, not as agent, but on his own account.
237. Liability of principal inducing belief that agent’s unauthorised acts were authorized
When an agent has, without authority, done acts or incurred obligations to third person on behalf of his principal, the principal is bound by such acts or obligations, if he has by his word or conduct induced such third person to believe that such acts and obligations were within the scope of the agent’s authority.
(a) A consigns goods to B for sale, and gives him instructions not to sell under a fixed price. C, being ignorant of B’s instruction, enters into a contract with B to buy the goods at a price lower than the reserved price. A is bound by the contract
(b) A entrusts B with negotiable instruments endorsed in blank. B sells them to C in violation of private order from A. The sale is good.
238. Effect, on agreement, of misrepresentation or fraud by agent
Misrepresentation made or fraud committed, by agent acting in the course of their business for their principals, have the same effect on agreements made by such agents as if such misrepresentations of frauds had been made or committed by the principals; but misrepresentations made, or frauds committed, by agents, in matters which do not affect their authority, do not affect their principals
(a) A, being B’s agent for the sale of goods, induces C to buy them by a misrepresentation, which he was not authorised by B to make. The contract is voidable, as between B and C, at the option of C.
(b) A, the captain of B’s ship, signs bills of lading without having received on board the goods mentioned therein. The bills of lading are void as between B and the pretended consignor.
CHAPTER XI : [OF PARTNERSHIP] Repealed by the Indian Partnership Act, 1932 (9 of 1932).
SCHEDULE : [ENACTMENTS REPEALED] Repealed by the Repealing and Amending Act, 1914 (10 of 1914).
1 Substituted by Act No. 3 of the 1951 for the words “except Part B States”.
2 The words “The enactments mentioned in the Schedule hereto are repealed to the extent specified in the third column thereof but” repealed by Act No. 10 of 1914.
3 Substituted by Act No. 3 of 1951, for the words “Part A States and Part C States”.
4 Substituted by Act No. 6 of 1899.
4A The words “undue influence” repealed by Act No. 6 of 1899.
5 Inserted by Act No. 6 of 1899.
6 The words “British lndia” have successively been amended by AO 1948 and AO 1950.
7 Paragraph 2, omitted by AO 1950.
8 Second illustration repealed by Act No. 24 of 1917.
9 Substituted by Act No. 12 of 1891 for the word “assurances”.
10 Exceptions 2 and 3 repealed by Act No. 9 of 1932.
11 Substituted by Indian Contract (Amendment) Act, 1996, dated 8th. January, 1997.
12 Second clause of Exception 1 to section 28 repealed by Specific Relief Act, 1877 and Act No. 1 of 1877 was repealed by Specific Relief Act, 1963, w.e.f. 1st. March, 1964.
13 Substituted by Act No. 12 of 1891.
14 Submitted by Act No. 12 of 1891, for the word “compensation”.
15 Substituted by Act No. 6 of 1899.
16 Added by Act No. 6 of 1899.
17 Inserted by Act No. 24 of 1917.
18 Sections 178 and 178A substituted by Act No. 4 of 1930