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Case Summary: Mohori Bibee v/s Dharmodas Ghose

Mohori Bibee v/s Dharmodas Ghose suit relates to the nature of contracts of a minor, fraudulent false interference by him, enforcement of the principle of Estoppel, sections 64, 65 of the Contract Act, etc.

Name Of The Case: Mohori Bibee v/s Dharmodas Ghose
Citation: (1903)ILR30Cal539(PC)
Date Of Judgement: 04 March 1903
Name Of The Judges: Lord McNaughton, Lord Davey, Lord Lindley, Sir Ford North, Sir Andrew Scoble, Sir Andrew Wilson.

Brief Facts And Disputes Of The Case:
The respondent was Dharmodas Ghose, who was a minor, received a loan from Brahmodutt, a lender in Calcutta, by saying that he was an adult and had written a mortgage deed (Mortgage Deed) in his favour to get a loan. At the time when the mortgage was being considered for advance money, At the time of standing, Kedarnath, the agent of Brahmodutt, had received information that the respondent was a minor; So, he cannot execute the deed. But still he executed a mortgage deed from Dharamdos Ghose.

The minor then filed a suit against Brahmodutt by his mother and guardian in which he appeal to the court to cancel the mortgage deed, as he was a minor at the time of the mortgage deed being executed. Justice Jenkins (Jenkins J.) who was a judge of the trial court, Accepting the appeal of the respondent, he cancelled the mortgage deed.

The appeal against the order was also quashed by the High Court; Therefore, the appellant appealed to the Privy Council. Brahmodutt had died at the time of making this appeal. So, he was replaced by his successor, Mohori Bibee.

The following arguments were presented by Mohori Bibee:
  1. While cancelling the mortgage deed, the court should have forced the minor to pay the money (Rs. 10,500) under the deed Return it. In favour of this argument, he referred to the Specific Relief Act, 1963 under which the Court has the power to pass such an order.
  2. Under Sections 64 and 65 of the Indian Contract Act 1872, the return of the money received under the deed cancelled may be compelled.
  3. According to the principle of 'Estoppel', the minor, who called himself a minor, cannot now be allowed to argue that he was a minor while contracting.
  4. The Contract made by the minor is null and voidable.

Verdict: The court dismissed the appeal.

Rule propounded:
  1. The contract made by the minor is not null and void from the beginning
  2. Section 64 of the Contract Act against the minor does not apply as these sections require that the parties to the contract should be able to make contracts.
  3. The principle of restriction cannot apply in this case because both the parties were aware that the contract was being done with a minor.
  4. Under the Specific Relief Act, 1963, the minor may be compelled to return the benefits availed under zero contract. But in this case, the court does not think it appropriate, because when Dharmodas Ghose was given a mortgage loan, the appellant knew that he was a minor.
Based on the above principles, the Privy Council rejected the appeal of the appellant.

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