Who is Competent to Contract? Understanding the Position of Agreements by a Minor
As per the Indian Contract Act, 1872, a person who has attained the age of majority, i.e., 18 years, and is of sound mind, is competent to enter into a contract. However, the position of a minor in a contract is a more complex matter.
A minor is a person who has not attained the age of 18 years. The Indian Contract Act, 1872, defines a minor as someone who has not completed the age of 18 years and is not of sound mind. The position of a minor in a contract is crucial as it determines the enforceability of the contract.
As per Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, a contract formed with a minor is void ab initio, i.e., it is void from the start. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. A minor can enter into a contract for the following purposes:
1. Education – A minor can enter into a contract for education purposes, i.e., admission to a school, college or university.
2. Marriage – A minor can enter into a contract of marriage.
3. Benefits – A minor can enter into a contract that benefits him/her; for example, a contract of employment.
4. Necessaries – A minor can enter into a contract for necessaries, i.e., goods or services essential to maintain the minor`s lifestyle. The contract must be for the minor`s benefit only.
However, in the case of necessaries, the minor is liable only for the value of the goods or services received and not for the entire contract amount. Moreover, the contract must be for the minor`s benefit only, and not for the benefit of any other person.
Furthermore, if a minor enters into a contract for any other purposes, the contract is void from the start. It means that neither party can enforce the contract, and the minor is not liable to pay any amount due under the contract.
In conclusion, a minor is not competent to contract except for the purposes mentioned above. Any contract entered into by a minor for any other purposes is void ab initio and cannot be enforced. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the position of a minor in a contract before entering into any agreement with them.