NAME OF THE CASE: Mohori Bibi v/s Dharmodas Ghose
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04th March 1903
NAME OF THE JUDGES: Lord McNaughton, Lord Davey, Lord Lindley, Sir Ford North, Sir Andrew Scoble, and Sir Andrew Wilson are among the members of the House of Lords.
FACTS OF THE CASE: The respondent, in this case, was Dharmodas Ghose. He was a minor (i.e., he had not reached the age of eighteen) and the sole owner of his immovable property. The Calcutta High Court named Dharmodas Ghose’s mother as his legal guardian.
He was a minor when he took out a mortgage on his own immovable property in favor of the appellant, Brahmo Dutta, and secured this mortgage deed for Rs. 20,000 at a rate of 12 percent per year.
Brahmo Dutta, a money lender at the time, secured a loan of Rs. 20,000, Kedar Nath, who also served as Brahmo Dutta’s attorney, was in charge of his firm’s management.
On the day the mortgage deed was initiated, Dharmodas Ghose’s mother informed Brahmo Dutta of Dharmodas Ghose’s paternity, but the part of the loan that was actually provided was less than Rs. 20,000.
The defendant’s representative, who was acting on behalf of the moneylender, gave money to the plaintiff, who was a minor, despite the fact that he was fully aware of the plaintiff’s incompetency to perform or enter into contracts, as well as the fact that he was legally incompetent to mortgage his own property.
Dharmodas Ghose and his mother filed a civil lawsuit against Brahmo Dutta on September 10, 1895, claiming that Dharmodas’ mortgage was started when he was a minor or newborn, and thus the mortgage was void, disproportionate, or unlawful, and that the contract should be canceled as a result.
Brahmo Dutta died while the petition or claim was being processed, and his executors contested the appeal or petition. The plaintiff argued or disputed that in such a situation, no relief or help should be offered to them since, according to him, the defendant had dishonestly misrepresented his age and the mortgage would be canceled at the defendant’s request, Dharmodas Ghose.
ISSUES BEFORE THE COURT:
1.) Is the deed void under sections 2, 10, and 11 of the Indian Contract Act of 1872?
2.) Is the defendant obligated to repay the amount of the loan he obtained under such deed or mortgage, or not?
3.) Whether or not the defendant’s mortgage was voidable?
ARGUMENTS OF THE APPELLANT:
1.) When the respondent executed the mortgage, he was a major.
2.) Neither the appellant nor his agent was aware that the respondent was under the age of 18.
3.) Because the respondent submitted a false representation about his age, he is ineligible to seek any redress.
4.) Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prohibits the respondent from arguing that he was a minor at the time of the mortgage’s execution.
5.) Sections 64 and 38 of the Indian Contract Act (1872) and section 41 of the Specific Relief Act require the respondent to refund the amount advanced (1877).
ARGUMENTS OF THE RESPONDENT:
1.) Brahmo Dutta and his agents, Kedar Nath, were aware of the respondent’s true age.
2.) The contract is void since the respondent was a minor when the mortgage was signed.
JUDGMENT: According to the Trial Court’s decision, the mortgage deed or contract entered into between the plaintiff and the defendant was void because it was executed by a person who was a baby at the time of the mortgage’s execution.
When Brahmo Dutta was dissatisfied with the Trial Court’s decision, he took his case to the Calcutta High Court.
The Calcutta High Court agreed with the Trial Court’s decision and dismissed Brahmo Dutta’s appeal, according to the order.
Then he moved to the Privy Council to appeal, and the Privy Council also dismissed Brahmo Dutta’s appeal, holding that a contract between a minor and a major person cannot be sought.
The council’s final ruling was that any contract entered into with a juvenile or infant is void from the start (void from beginning).
Because the minor was unable to create such a mortgage, the agreement established or begun is void and unenforceable in the eyes of the law.
Because he was not bound by the pledge that was executed in a contract, the minor, Dharmodas Gosh, cannot be forced to return the money that was advanced to him.
CONCLUSION: The Privy Council dismissed the appellant’s appeal based on the aforementioned principles.
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