How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

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Location: India

Monday, July 26, 2004

It's the law!

       The Legal Aspects in Management course throws up some amusing bits and pieces here and there = some typical definitions in legalese and some peculiar cases of the past.
        We have just completed studying the Indian Contract Act, 1872, and some of the cases cited to illustrate various points in this Act make me wonder what kinds of contracts and agreements people get into.
        I would like to cite one case here - that of Khwaja Muhammad v. Hussaini Begum (1910). K had reached an agreement with H's father to supply a fixed sum to H under a specific head in consideration for H's marriage to K's son. This head was called 'kharchi-e-paandaan' (betel box expense)! K established a trust for this purpose but did not pay H regularly after her marriage to K's son. Consequently, H sued for recovering arrears of Rs. 15,000 from K. K contended that the contract was between him and H's father. H was not a party to the contract and hence could not sue. The case went to the Privy Council in England and the Council decided that since a trust was set up with H being a beneficiary, H could indeed sue for recovering benefits in arrears. A most extraordinary case, or, in Sherlock Holmes' words, 'a most singular case'...
        The case was cited to note one of the exceptions to the general law that 'a stranger to a contract cannot sue for damages in case of breach of contract'.
    

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