Minor Contracts and Legal Boundaries: A Case Study

  • Contracts involving minors can be complex, as demonstrated in a legal dispute where a minor deceitfully posed as an adult during a transaction.
  • The case revolves around the sale of land, where the minor, pretending to be an adult, received a substantial sum from the plaintiff.
  • Despite receiving the money, the minor refused to transfer property ownership, leading to a legal battle over the contract’s enforceability and the consequences of deception in minor contracts.
  • This analysis aims to simplify the legal intricacies of contracts involving minors, particularly focusing on the balance between protecting minors and preventing fraud.
  • Our goal is to provide clarity for judiciary aspirants, fostering a deeper understanding and critical thinking on this pivotal issue.


  • The case centers on a minor (defendant no. 1) who concealed his true age from the plaintiff while negotiating the sale of land.
  • A total sum of Rs. 17,500 was involved, with an initial cash payment of Rs. 8,000 made during registration, and the remaining Rs. 9,500 covered through a promissory note.
  • Despite receiving the agreed sum, the minor refused to transfer property ownership to the plaintiffs.
  • The plaintiffs sought legal recourse for Rs. 19,000, considering both the principal sum and additional charges, proposing that this amount be recovered from the minor’s other properties.
  • This case raises questions about the enforceability of contracts entered into by minors, especially when misrepresentation is involved.
  • The landmark Mohori Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose case clarifies that contracts with minors, when misrepresented, are void but may require the minor to return benefits under certain conditions.

Issues Involved

1. The Intricacies of Minor Contracts and Legal Capacity

  • Understanding the legal capacity of individuals, especially minors, is fundamental in contract law.
  • The Indian Contract Act, of 1872, excludes minors from being competent to contract, making their contracts void from the outset to protect them from exploitation and undue influence.
  • However, complexities arise when minors engage in contracts under deceptive pretenses, such as concealing their true age.

2. The Mohori Bibee Precedent: A Turning Point in Contract Law

  • The Mohori Bibee v. Dharmodas Ghose case clarified that contracts entered into by minors are void from the beginning, not merely voidable.
  • This precedent guides subsequent legal interpretations and judicial decisions, emphasizing the importance of legal capacity in contract formation.

3. Estoppel and Minor Contracts: Navigating the Legal Maze

  • The doctrine of estoppel encounters challenges with minor contracts, as minors who misrepresent their age cannot claim benefits while avoiding contractual obligations.
  • Indian courts have consistently held that a minor’s misrepresentation of age does not stop them from asserting their minority status to avoid contractual obligations.

4. Restitution and Equity: Balancing the Scales for Minors in Contract Misrepresentations

  • In cases of minor contracts entered through misrepresentation, equity may require minors to return benefits obtained to prevent unjust enrichment.
  • While minors are protected from contractual liabilities, they may still have an equitable duty to make restitution, balancing protection with fairness.

5. The Lingering Questions: Future Implications and Judicial Interpretations

  • Ongoing questions for the judiciary and legal practitioners involve the interaction between minor contracts, misrepresentation, and legal remedies.
  • As society evolves, legal interpretations must adapt to changing contexts, ensuring justice is served while upholding protective measures for minors.


  • The case highlights the balance between protecting minors and ensuring justice for those misled by their actions.
  • It emphasizes the principle that equity demands accountability, even for minors who misrepresent their age.
  • As judiciary aspirants, it urges a deeper understanding of the nuanced interplay between law and equity to uphold justice and integrity in future legal endeavors.