LEGAL STATUS OF A MINOR IN INDIA

WHO IS A MINOR?

According to Section 3 of the Indian Majority Act of 1875, a “minor” is someone who has not reached the legal age of majority to which they are subject. The legal minimum age varies depending on the country’s legal system. Minors do not possess the same level of legal ability that adults do. The legal rights of adults are typically not given to kids until they reach the age of majority. Because children and minors are still maturing before the age of 18 in terms of their nature, health, knowledge, and other factors, India generally considers anyone to be of majority age at that age. When minors reach the age of 18 and have grown physically and mentally, they are regarded as mature adults. They believe that as grown adults, they are capable of managing the same legal rights and obligations.

Similar to their ability to vote, litigate, own property, and enter into contracts, they too enjoy these rights. But age is not necessarily a factor in maturity. In some instances, the minor has the required maturity and natural understanding whereas the majors do not. Each youngster is unique in their own way. Additionally, the child or juvenile needed some necessities. There must be no prejudice against children based on their gender, ethnicity, caste, ability, or religion.

POSITION AND LEGAL STATUS OF MINOR: ACCORDING TO THE INDIAN CONTRACT ACT, 1872

A person who is an Indian citizen and who is younger than 18 years old is referred to as a minor in accordance with section 3 of the Indian Contract Act. The minor agreement is invalid in accordance with this clause. A minor lack the legal capacity to sign a contract. According to Section 2 of the Indian Contract Act, the parties must be of sound mind, unqualified by law, and not minors in order to enter into a contract or make an agreement. The case of Mohri bibi v. Damodardas Ghosh[1], ruled that any contract signed by a minor is totally void. The court cannot permit a specific performance of a contract with children since the agreement is wholly void from the start.

POSITION AND LEGAL STATUS OF MINOR: ACCORDING TO THE TRANSFER OF PROPERTY ACT, 1882

According to the Transfer of Property Act, a minor is a person who lacks the legal capacity to enter into contracts but who is still permitted to accept gifts of real estate without the involvement of his guardians. The Transfer of Property Act’s Section 13 permits the transfer of property to an unborn child. Unborn or in-utero children are defined by the Transfer of Property Act of 1882. Life interest or a life holder is created in order to transmit the property to the unborn child. An individual with a life interest may use the property on behalf of the unborn child, but he is not permitted to transfer it. A minor may purchase real estate with his own funds.

POSITION AND LEGAL STATUS OF MINOR: ACCORDING TO THE INDIAN SUCCESSION ACT, 1925

Before the unborn person can be made the owner of the property, prior interest must be created under Section 144 of the Indian Succession Act of 1925. The person has the ability to create a property interest in the name of the unborn child. However, the property’s generated interest cannot become vested until the unborn child is born alive.

POSITION AND LEGAL STATUS OF MINOR:  ACCORDING TO THE INDIAN PENAL CODE

A kid under the age of seven is completely exempt from criminal responsibility, per section 82 of the Indian Penal Code. A child under the age of seven cannot be found guilty of any crime. because a child at this age cannot distinguish between right and wrong. It relies on the premise that a kid under the age of seven is incapable of understanding the nature and repercussions of the crime they have committed, and thus mens rea is not present in this instance.

Children who are older than 7 but less than 12 are permitted a partial defence from criminal responsibility under section 83 of the Indian Penal Code. A child between the ages of 7 and 12 can comprehend the nature and repercussions of the crime they commit.

MATURITY OF UNDERSTANDING 

The responsibility relies on the child’s maturity level if they are between the ages of 7 and under 12 years.

Example: A is an 11-year-old child who is unable to comprehend the nature and repercussions of the objects or his behaviour. His actions may be exempt from accountability. However, B is a different young child who is 9 years old and has enough maturity to grasp the nature and repercussions of his actions and to be held accountable. The circumstances surrounding the crime can be used to determine the child’s maturity and understanding. And it varies depending on the circumstances. In accordance with the Indian Penal Code, it is necessary to demonstrate that a kid who is 7 years old or under and under the age of 12 does not have the necessary maturity or comprehension of the offence’s nature and repercussions.

In the case of Krishna Bhagwan v. State of Bihar[2], It was decided that a child can be found guilty of an offence if he can comprehend the nature and repercussions of the crime and has reached the age of 7 years or has reached that age at the time of the decision.

In the case of Marsh v. Loader[3], it was discovered that a little child had been discovered stealing some wood from the defendant’s property. However, because he was under the legal drinking age of seven, the boy was released and was not held responsible.

NO LIABILITY IN TORT ARISING OUT OF CONTRACT

A minor’s agreement is void and has no legal force. Since a minor cannot give consent, there can be no genuine consent and no change in the parties’ positions or status can be established. A minor cannot be held accountable for anything that would impose his agreement indirectly, it ought to be emphasized. Therefore, it is not possible to turn a contract into a tort in order to bring a lawsuit against a juvenile. The minor is not responsible in tort, according to the Calcutta High Court, “where the tort is closely connected with the contract and is the method of executing it and is a parcel of the same transaction.” Therefore, the minor is not found guilty in a tort according to this theory.

The presence of a contract, however, does not absolve the minor of responsibility when the tort was committed independently of the agreement and had no connection to it. The case of Burnard v. Haggis[4] can be used to illustrate this. The defendant, a student and a minor, lent a horse so that they might go for a ride. He made it abundantly apparent that he did not desire a horse for jumping. After that, the defendant transferred the horse to his buddy, who used it for jumping and caused it to fall and sustain injuries. The act that caused the horse harm was outside the scope of the contract and had only a tenuous connection to the contract, thus the defendant was held accountable under tort law.

CHANGING TIMES

The Science and the IQ of children are ever advancing. A child of 10 can effortlessly surf the internet and chat with new people. They are well aware of the environment around them. They almost know what is wrong and what is right. For example, in Newton v. Edgerly[5] father was held liable when he supplied his 12-year-old son with a .410 rifle without proper instructions and an accident occurred. Lack of supervision by the authorized body may render it vicariously liable but the child was clearly aware of his surroundings and thought process.

On the other hand, children in India, a developing nation, commit crimes because of their precarious living conditions. Here, the psychological component enters the picture, which the Republic’s highly intelligent citizens must resolve. It means that grounds for minors’ torts must be updated frequently to reflect the times. We need distinct rules in India under various circumstances because of the diversity. However, the creation of an undefined) the law in accordance with the situation at hand is a requirement for flexibility in the law via exceptions and qualities.


[1] (1903) 30 cal. 539.

[2] AIR 1989 PAT 217.

[3] (1863) 14 CBNS 535,

[4] (1863) 14 C.B 45)

[5] [1959] 1 WLR 1031

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.

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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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