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This article is written by Sri Vaishnavi.M.N., a first-year student of Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Vishakapatanam. In this article, she analyzes the Kedarnath Bhattacharji v. Gorie Mohammad.

“Any act done at the will of the promisor’s wish is taken as the fulfilment of consideration of a contract”- this was emphasised by the Calcutta high court under the contract law in the Kedarnath Bhattacharji v. Gorie Mohammad case.

Facts of the case

In Kedarnath Bhattacharji v. Gorie Mohammad, the offended party was a Municipal Commissioner of Howrah and one of the trustees of the Howrah City Council Fund. Sometime before, it was thought to make a City Hall in Howrah, they gave the essential resources that could be raised and, provided that things existed, people were intrigued to work to perceive what memberships they could obtain.

After gaining enough membership to support the funds required to build the town hall, the commissioners including the offended party made an agreement with the defendant to build the town hall. The plans for the proposed structure were submitted and passed. But as the membership list increased the plans also expanded. Hence the expected cost of construction is increased from Rs. 26,000 to Rs. 40,000; the now increased amount of Rs. 40,000 stayed approved and obligated by the commissioners including the offended party. 

The offended party though as a member and one of the commissioners obligated under the agreement to the respondent can sue the respondent for the benefit of himself and each one of those members. 

Reasoning

Without making reference to the fact that he is a trustee or a Municipal Commissioner, we (The learned judge of Calcutta High Court) believe that according to the agreements of the Code of Civil Procedure, he is qualified to accelerate an activity-benefit of himself and of other people who are intrigued with him. In the event that the activity could be maintained for the benefit of all, and there was no other segment that prevented this from being done, it would fix any specialized imperfection of the situation.

At that time, the investigation is, regardless of whether it is a demand that could be maintained by all the people who were put at risk to the temporary worker in case they were totally united. Obviously, there are a considerable number of memberships that cannot be recovered. A man for unknown or different reasons inscribes his name to be a member of some charitable article, for example, but the extent of his membership cannot be recovered from him in light of the fact that there is no thought.

He approached people to buy, knowing the reason why the money should be connected, and they realized that, with the confidence of their membership, they had to acquire a commitment to pay the contractual worker for the job. Under these conditions, this type of agreement arises. 

The endorser buying on your behalf says, as a result, with respect to your consent to enter into an agreement to lift or lift this structure, I agree to supply the money to pay up to the amount for which I purchased my name. That is an impeccably substantial contract and for a good thought; It contains all the basic components of an agreement that can be authorized by law by the persons to whom the obligation is acquired.

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As we (The learned judge of Calcutta High Court) would see, that is the situation here, and in this sense we believe that the two consultations should be answered in the agreement, in light of the fact that, as I just said, we believe there is an agreement for good thoughts, which may be authorized by the best possible meeting, and we imagine that the offended party can implement it, since it can sue for the interest of itself and of all the people in a similar intrigue, and, therefore, we answer the two questions in the certificate, and we believe that the Judge of the Court of Minor Cause must declare the claim for the guaranteed sum, and we also believe that the offended party must receive his expenses, including the expenses of this conference.

Judgment

In the case, it was held that although the promise was for a charitable purpose and that D had no benefit, however, he is responsible for the promise made by him. So he was held liable. It was noted that in this case people were asked to knowingly subscribe to the purpose for which the money was to be applied or used. 

They also knew that in the faith of their subscription they had to incur the obligation to pay the contractor for the work. The Law of the applicant, that is, the conclusion of a contract with the contractor was made at the will of the promoter, which is a good consideration in the sense of section 2(d).

Legal principle

Section 25 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 states openly that “an agreement made without consideration is void”. In other words, the presence of consideration is essential for a contract to be valid.

According to Section 2(d) of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, Consideration for a promise is “When the promisor wishes, the fiancé or any other person has done or abstained from doing, or does or refrains from doing, or promises to do or refrain from doing something, such act or abstinence or Promise.” It is the price paid by one party for the promise of the other. The consideration is the benefit that corresponds to the parties to a contract. The consideration may be “right, interest, profit or benefit” for one of the parties. It may also be ‘some indulgence, prejudice, loss or responsibility given, suffered or assumed by the other.

In addition, we can also generally observe that the legal principle of “Revocation of unilateral promises” is also included, which is a branch of an important legal principle “Unilateral promises”. Therefore, a question that is expected from an ideal law student would be “What, are the unilateral promises?” To which the answer is such that it is a one-sided promise and is intended to induce some action. 

We can also observe that the Supreme Court has correctly ruled that “A unilateral contract refers to a free promise where only one party makes a promise without any promise of return” in the case of Aloka Bose v. Paramatma Devi (2009). Therefore, we can clearly say that the promised is not obliged to act since he does not give any promise on his side, but if he carries out the desired actions by the promisor, he can fulfil the promisor.

However, in the discussion of the legal principle of “Revocation of unilateral promises,” it can be said that there is another problem related to such unilateral contracts. It is certainly true that a promise given in exchange for an act is revocable before the betrothed begins to alter his position by acting on the promise. The next expected question that appears in the mind of a genius regarding this statement is such that “Can the Contract be revoked after the fiancé has begun his performance?” 

To this, I can usually explain it in the following manner. for example, the promise is to pay a sum of money if the promised walks from Lucknow to Vijayawada, can it be revoked after the fiance has embarked on the trip? The decision in Kedarnath Bhattacharji v. Gorie Mohammad suggests, although in a few words, that such revocation is impossible. The accused, in that case, was held responsible as soon as the contract for the construction of the room was concluded.

The same follows from the decision of DENNING LJ in Errington v. Errington and Woods, in which we can analyze the facts of the case that the owner of a house had mortgaged. The house was in the occupation of his son and his daughter-in-law. He told them that the house would become their property if they paid the mortgage debt in instalments and the payments began. In these circumstances, the court considered that it would be unfair if the promoter could revoke this promise to his liking.

His lordship said: “The promise of the father was a unilateral contract. A promise of the house in exchange for his act of paying the dues.” It could be revoked by him once the couple started doing it, but on the other hand, He would also stop obliging him if they left the payments incomplete and unfulfilled.

Relevant case laws

In Doraswami Iyer v. Arunachala Ayyar [2], the Madras High Court explained the principle used in the previous case on the basis that there was no simple promise to subscribe, but also a request for the promise to do an act (construction of the municipality in that case), and that where There is such a request for an act, the promise will be a simple promise and without any consideration. 

The facts of the case were the repair of a temple in progress. As the work progressed, more money was required and to raise these funds, subscriptions were invited and a list of subscriptions was created. The defendant was placed on the list for Rs. 125 and it was to recover this sum that the claim failed. But no recovery was allowed.

In addition, The Hon’ble CORNISH J regarding the case has proceeded as follows: “The complaint found consideration of the promise in the following manner: plaintiffs who rely on the subscriber’s promise incurred responsibilities in repairing the temple. The question is, is this amount to consider? The definition of consideration in the Contract Law is that when the promisor has done or has abstained from doing something, such act or abstinence is called consideration. 

Therefore, the definition postulates that the betrothed must have acted on something that amounts to more than just a promise. There must be some negotiation between them with respect to which consideration has been given… The promisor must have made some request to promise to do something in consideration of the promised subscription “.

In addition, the wise judge found support in the English case of Hudson, where the promise was to contribute a large sum of money for the payment of the debts of the Chapel, the promisor had died after paying a large fee, the balance was not he could recover from his executors The claim was considered untenable insofar as the fiancé had not assumed any responsibility as part of the deal with the promisor. Applying these principles to the present case, the wise judge said that there was no evidence of any request from the subscriber to the plaintiff to make repairs to the temple.

 In Radhakrishna Joshi v. Syndicate Bank [3], upon the death of his father, his two children picked up a crash. His mother intervened writing to the youngest son that, in case his older brother did not pay the sum of Rs. 50 lakhs that was owed to him outside of the family assets, she would pay the same. The brother paid a part of the amount. The mother supplemented the payment to a certain extent but still had to pay the amount of the balance and therefore claimed a reduction. 

The contract was part of the family agreement. It was not affected by section 25 since a purchase of family peace in such circumstances is a good consideration. A loan was granted to the child in the event that his father, who executed all the essential documents, would be considered enforceable against the father.

Conclusion

It is clearly evident from the above that the promisor cannot revoke the promise once the promisee commenced the performance or process mentioned in the contract. The Calcutta High Court, in its judgement, without a doubt stated that promise cannot be revoked after the commencement of the act as per the contract.

Reference

  1. (1887) ILR 14 Cal 64.
  2. AIR 1936 Mad 135.
  3. IV (2006) BC 180, 2006 131.

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