Concept of legal personality

Objectively speaking, a person’s intellectual base is referred to as their personality. It stands for a right and duty-bearing entity in legal terms. Thus, legal personality creates two issues. What are the principles or theories that underpin the legal classification of someone as a person? The extent of these (legal) people’s rights and obligations is the subject of the second question.

Natural and legal persons: Natural persons refer to people. Legal people are those entities and beings who are accorded legal personhood. As a result, a “legal person” comprises anything that is treated legally in the same way as a person. Any subject matter that the law gives personality to, other than a human being, is referred to as a legal person. It consists of an item, a variety of things, a location, a lot of people, etc. According to the law, they are considered as having rights and duties just like a real person. The mere fact that something is personified in everyday discourse does not mean that it has been endowed with legal personality, even if personification is a requirement for legal personality. When a single entity is given legal personality by the law, it is acknowledged as existing independently of the people or item it represents while yet being a part of that group.

Death is the end of the personality. Some rights continue to exist after death. The rights often come into being at birth and disappear at death. However, the law acknowledges and defends the wishes and interests of the deceased in some circumstances. All dead individuals are guaranteed a respectful burial by law, and disturbing a grave is a crime. In some societies, it is legal to establish trusts that are enforced to allow for worship at a deceased person’s grave. In some circumstances, the deceased’s reputation is shielded by the law. The maxim De mo tius nil nisi bonum (dead have no rights and can suffer no wrong) states that libel to the dead is not a crime in the eyes of the law, but under English law, it is a misdemeanour if the publication of a defamatory matter about the deceased causes scandal on his family (on living persons) and provokes a breach of peace.

The term “capacity” refers to a person’s inherent rights and powers in a certain situation. A human is dependent on numerous factors. If someone has the position of the jurist, they simultaneously hold one of the citizens. However, having two capacities does not imply having two personalities. There is only one legal personality. As a result, a person acting in one capacity cannot engage in a legal transaction with oneself acting in the other role. On the same basis, he was prohibited from suing himself in cases where a creditor served as his debtor’s executor.

When a single entity is recognised by the law as distinct from a group of individuals or a thing, even though it represents the group of individuals or the thing, it is said to have a legal personality. A legal person is any entity other than a human being to whom the law gives personality, according to the Supreme Court’s position.

Any object to which the law gives personality but who is not a human being is referred to as a legal person. One of the most notable achievements of the legal imagination is this enlargement of the conception of individuality, for good and adequate grounds. One type of legal person created by the law and endowed with a number of characteristics in order to accomplish specific goals is a corporation. (Som Prakash Rekhi v. Union Of India[1])

The courts may be compelled to recognise it if it is a religious organisation or another similarly beneficial unit. This accolade is for supporting the social needs and religious beliefs of society. Like any other natural person, a juristic person is subject to the law, has rights and obligations, and is treated as such. To put it another way, the entity operates just like a natural person, but only through a designated individual, whose actions are subject to legal scrutiny. (Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandak Committee v. Som Nath Das[2]

Concept of Legal Personality in India

Similar to Roman law, the idea of legal individuality was not well understood or necessary in ancient India. Hindu law’s coparcenary structure could be compared to a company in several ways. The head of the family, or the Karta, acted as a representative and might be sued in this position. There were many different groups of people, and some of them had representatives. They are not, however, considered to be legal persons in the contemporary sense of the word.

Corporations: However, there was some recognition of corporations in the old Hindu system.

Its support can be found in the following texts: (Among heretical sects, trading corporations, trade guilds, unions, troops, tribes and other associations-the King should maintain the conventions, as also in regard to fortified towns and the open country)[3]. It was stated that everything a member of the corporations acquired would belong to them all.

Idols and Funds: Idol was regarded as a legal individual. It was a landowner. Both it and others could sue. A fund established for a charitable cause has legal status as well. It has specific legal rights and protections, such as property set aside for math, for example. (Parramatta Nath v. Pradyumn[4]).

State: State is a legal individual. It can be sued and sue others. According to Article 300 of the Indian Constitution, either the Union of India or the State Government may bring a lawsuit or be sued in their respective capacities. The Civil Procedure Code of 1908 contains a provision allowing parties to be added to suits brought by and against the State.

Mosque: A mosque is not a juristic person. In a Lahore decision (Maula Buksh v. Hafiz-ud-din[5]), it was held that a mosque was a juristic person and could sue and be sued, but in the Masjid Shahid Ganj Case[6], the Privy Council ruled that lawsuits cannot be launched by or against mosques since they are not considered “artificial” persons by the law. Previously, it had been established that a mosque was a juristic person who could sue and be sued. They did not, however, address whether a mosque might be considered a “juristic” person for any reason. In Masjid Shahid Ganj v. Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee[7], The High Court’s Full Bench ruled that a mosque was a legal entity. This choice was made after an appeal to the Privy Council, which upheld the earlier ruling.

Guru Granth Sahib in Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee v. Somnath Das[8], The Supreme Court declared Guru Sahib to be a legal person, citing its sacredness and historical heritage. Guru Gobind Singh, the final surviving guru, declared categorically that he will be the last guru moving forward. The vibrating Guru would be the Guru Granth Sahib. He proclaimed that going forward, your Guru will be the source of all your advice and answers. It is revered as a living Guru because of this faith. When it is placed in any gurudwara, it becomes a sacred site of devotion because of this faith and conviction.

Groups, associations, and corporations: Legal persons include corporations, associations, and numerous other types of groups. Several statutes explicitly recognise them in this way. For instance, the Transfer of Property Act, 1882[9] states that a living person includes a company, association, or group of people, whether or not they are incorporated.

Companies and Registered Societies: Companies that have been incorporated under the Indian Companies Act are considered to be legal entities. The law recognises an incorporated corporation as a separate legal entity from its members with its own existence. The moment of incorporation marks the emergence of this new legal personality, and from that point forward, the individuals who subscribe to the memorandum of association and additional individuals who join as members are regarded as a body corporate or a corporation aggregate, and this new person starts to act as an entity. The Societies Registration Act of 1860 also recognises societies as legal persons. (Ganga Sahai v. Bharat Bhan & Others[10]).

[1] (1981) SCC 449

[2] (2000) 4 SCC 146)

[3] Narada, 10, 2

[4] (1925) L.R. 52

[5] AIR 1926 Lah. 372

[6] (1940, 67 I.A. 251)

[7] AIR 1938 Lah. 369

[8] 2000) 4 SC 146

[9] See section 5, Paragraph II

[10] AIR 1950 All. 480

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.


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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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