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The Doctrine Of Acceleration

Before 1882 ,when the present act came into picture , the transfer of immovable property in India were governed by the principles of equity .Most of the provisions of the Act 1882 , had been based on the decisions of the court of Equity before 1884 .Sometimes ,the courts had to decide the case according to their own notion of justice and fair play.

Thus to remedy the state of affairs , a law commission appointed in England to prepare a code of substantive law of transfer of properties in India .Thus , since passing of the transfer of property act , 1882 .Its provisions were amended on 12th occasions . It came into force on 1 July 1882., introduced by Whitley Stokes. Basically the Act has two readings once done on 1877 and other on 1882.

The basic aim of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 is to amend ,regulate and define the law is to define, amend or regulate the law related to the property transferable and respective parties . The Act acts as a uniform and systematic legislation regarding the transfer of immovable property between living parties In order to make it an effective legislation the sections includes various doctrines like doctrine of cypress , doctrine of acceleration , doctrine of part performance etc .

Conditional Transfer: An Overview

Conditional transfer is given under Sec 25 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 specifically but Section 26 to 34 also talks with the conditional transfer in one or the other way . When interest is being created on a transfer of property and is made to depend on a fulfillment of a condition then that transfer of property will be called as Conditional Transfer A condition is something that makes the existence of a right dependent on the happening or not happening of a thing .Also the conditions are of two types that is condition precedent and condition subsequent given under Sec 26 and Sec 29 of the same act respectively.

Basically condition precedent is when vesting of interest is delayed till happening of event ,vesting of interest basically means when someone gets interest of that property , that is a condition need to be fulfilled first before the transfer of property . thus first fulfillment of condition and then vesting of interest whereas condition subsequent is where vesting of interest is done and then fulfillment of condition is done.

But it should also be kept in mind that the condition should not be void as it will lead to void transfer . Also , it should not be impossible or forbidden by law or opposed to public policy . Other section deals with certain conditions too.

Whenever conditional transfer is talked about a doctrine called as Doctrine of Acceleration comes into play as it is one of the important doctrine mentioned under Section 27 of the Transfer of Property Act , 1882.

Doctrine Of Acceleration

Acceleration basically means a shortening of time until some event takes place . Doctrine of Acceleration basically talks about conditional transfer to at least one person including transfer to a different person with a condition ,as per Sec 27 of Transfer of Property Act , conditional transfer to one person coupled with transfer to another on failure of prior disposition , the ulterior disposition shall become on failure of prior disposition ( Ismail Haji v. Umar Abdulla )1

“Where, on a transfer of property an interest therein created in favour of one person and by the same transaction an ulterior disposition of the same interest is made in favour of another , if the prior disposition under the transfer shall fail , the ulterior disposition shall take effect upon the failure of prior disposition , although the failure may not have occurred within the manner contemplated by the transferor.

But, where the intention of the parties to the transaction is that the ulterior disposition shall become only within the event of the prior disposition failing during a particular manner , the ulterior disposition shall not become unless the prior disposition fails therein manner .”2

A person having the proper right to require possession of property at some future time may have that right accelerated if this holder loses his or her right to the property is basically what doctrine of acceleration talks about .

If a life estate fails for any reason, the remainder is accelerated as the life interest that fails or ends earlier accelerating the interest of the remainder beneficiaries who then take their interest at that earlier time instead of on the death of the tenant for all times . . Also , under doctrine of acceleration the ultimate beneficiary will get property because of mediator’s death , fault etc.

The effect of prior interest… is to accelerate the next which are limited to require effect on the regular determination of that prior interest;3 the court construes the gist of such interest as intended to require effect on the failure or determination of prior interest in any manner4
Also it depicts a situation where if two interests are created in same transaction and prior interest fails for some reason , not contemplated or reasonably foreseen by transferors then , subsequent interest will take place .

For example:
  1. A agreed to transfer his property to B. If B meet certain conditions if he did not do so then the property are going to be transferred to C.
  2. A disposition favoured to C will be effective where a transfer of Rs 12000 is done by A to B on condition that the lease will be executed by B after A's death after 3 months

Applicability Of Section 27 Of The Transfer Of Property Act, 1882

Section 27 (doctrine of acceleration) (conditional transfer to one person coupled with transfer to another on failure of prior disposition) and Sec 16( that if the prior transfer fails due to violation of sections 13 and 14, then a transfer that was to take effect upon the prior transfer would also fail.) of the same Act have contrasting viewpoint.

Similarly, if the prior interest fails under section 25, then also, the subsequent interest fails. In this condition the failure of prior transfer should be taken into consideration as the failure is not done here due to the violation of section 13 or section 14. Thus , if the prior transfer fails for a reason that was not contemplated by the transfer or could not have been foreseen by him, then the subsequent transfer would take effect.

Therefore, it is only when the prior interest is perfectly valid to begin with and its failure is not due to its conflict with the legal provisions but due to some reasons that happen actually subsequent to the transfer and could not have reasonably been foreseen by the transferor initially, that the subsequent transfer would be valid. Therefore as per doctrine of acceleration , subsequent interest would be accelerated as a consequence if prior transfer fails.

Similarly, in Radha Prasad v Rani Mani 5, a Hindu man made a gift to a boy who was intended to be adopted by his wife and provided that if the adoption could not be completed and he died without any son, the property was to go to his daughters. The immediate effect was given to the daughter's gifts as the power of adoption with W was not valid

Relation With Other Legislations

There are several other legislations related to the Transfer of Property Act , 1882 like Registration Act , 1908 , Easements Act 1882 and many other .

With respect to Doctrine of Acceleration , Transfer of Property Act , 1882 and The Indian Succession Act 1925 , both are interlinked as under the latter Act ,Section 129 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, provides for the rule of acceleration just in case of bequests.

“Bequest to A and on failure of prior bequest to B6.—Where there's a gift to at least one person and a gift of an equivalent thing to a different , if the prior bequest shall fail, the second bequest shall take effect upon the failure of the prior bequest although the failure may not have occurred in the manner contemplated by the testator."

For example:
  1. A bequeaths a sum of money to his own children surviving him, and, if they all die under 18, to B. A dies without having ever had a child. The bequest to B takes effect.

    When the prior bequest fails either because the one in whose favour it was, dies, and is therefore unable to take it, or if it was a conditional bequest in favour of a person who is not able to fulfil the condition . Thus in such cases of bequest subsequent beneficiary takes effect

    In Govindraju v Mangalam Pillai 7, A bequeathed his property to B and C. The direction under the desire stipulated that his property was to be sold and therefore the sale proceeds were to be equally divided between B and C. It further provided that if B or C died during A's lifetime or before the estate could be so divided, leaving any issue, the issue would take the property. both B and C took a vested interest after the death of A.

    The condition for divesting was: if any one of them died before the division and distribution of the property, their respective share was to vest in their lawful issue. C died five months after A and before the sale and distribution of property might be materialised. It was held that he was divested of the share and the same vested in his issue.

Case Laws Related To Doctrine Of Acceleration:

  1. In the case of Ajudhia v. Rakhman Kaur 8, in this case , A wanted to give B (his wife) a property as gift but where it was to be registed as per the local act the property cant be transferred to his wife thus ultimately transfer went to his children C thus here ultimate beneficiary got the interest ,the property was accelerated to the children as a gift and in this case the doctrine of acceleration was upheld
  2. In lull v/s Jones, A made a bequest to B for life and then to his children. As one of the attestors gift was being failed to B Held, consistent with acceleration, the gift to B failed but, took effect in favour of the youngsters.
  3. Avelyn v/s Ward: Rs 5000 was transferred by A to B with condition that certain lease should be executed within 3 days after the death of A .The transfer will go to C if neglected The death of B occurred while A was alive . C got the effect of disposition.
  4. Underwood v/s Wing 9: A property was transferred to w , wife by A , the property will be transferred to B if she dies during lifetime. During an air crash both W and A died . It is uncertain who died first whether W or A. The transfer to B will not take effect. A sum of money was bequested by A for his children for their survival . Bequest will go to B if the death occurs before him A dies without issues. Thus the court held that the bequest to B will take effect as per the doctrine of acceleration.

  1. The first exception comes into play where the prior interest is void. The ulterior interest dependent upon it also fails.
  2. Also, doctrine of acceleration is not applicable unless the first transfer fails in a particular specified manner only.
  3. Doctrine of Acceleration not applicable if the remainder is not a vested remainder but is contingent on an uncertain event (Devalakshmi v/s Vishvakanth P) 10

Transfer of property is basically referred to as an act by which an individual conveys the property to at least one or more persons, or himself and one or more other persons as per the Transfer of Property Act 1882 . The act of transfer could also be wiped out this or for the longer term. The person may include a private, company or association or body of people and any quite property could also be transferred, including the transfer of immovable property.

One of the important doctrine under this act is Doctrine of Acceleration which can be referred as an English doctrine described as a rule of constructive based on condition and prior transfer.

When interest ,in order to require immediate effect after a premature determination of the prior interest then an interest in remainder are interpretated liberally with respect to limitation of property.

Doctrine of Acceleration can be referred as subset of Conditional Transfer which talks about conditional transfer to one person coupled with transfer to another on failure of prior disposition.

  1. Ismail Haji v. Umar Abdulla AIR [1942] Bom 155
  2. Transfer of Property Act , 1882 s 27
  3. Avtar Singh & Harpreet Kaur-Textbook on Transfer of Property Act, 6th ed
  4. Edward Jenks , Halsbury’s Law of England vol .28
  5. Radha Prasad v Rani Mani [1906] 33Cal 947
  6. The Indian Succession Act , 1925 s.129
  7. Govindraju v Mangalam Pillai AIR [1933] Mad 80
  8. Ajudhia v. Rakhman Kaur [1883] 10 Cal 482
  9. Underwood V. Wing4 De G.M. and G. 633
  10. AIR [1972] Bom 103

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