Can principle of estoppel be applied against a minor?
Niladri Hazra 15 March 2021
Ishaan 16 March 2021
Estoppel is a legal principle that prevents someone from arguing something or asserting a right that contradicts what they previously said or agreed to by law. It is meant to prevent people from being unjustly wronged by the inconsistencies of another person's words or actions.
Indian Contract Act 1872 states that there can be no estoppel against a minor, Where a minor by misrepresenting his age has induced the other party to enter into a contract with him, he cannot be made liable for the contract. There can be no estoppel against a minor. It means he is not estopped from pleading his infancy in order to avoid a contract.
No Specific performance Except in certain cases A minor's contract being absolutely void, there can be no question of the specific performance of such contract. A guardian of a minor cannot bind the minor by an agreement for the purchase of immovable property ; so the minor cannot ask for the specific performance of the contract which the guardian had no power to enter into. But a contract entered into by guardian or manager on minor's behalf can be specifically enforced if
(a) The contract is within the authority of the guardian or manager.
(b) It is for the benefit of the minor.
Arpita Chauhan 23 May 2021
To answer your question first, the Principle of Estoppel cannot be applied against a minor.
First of all, a Minor is a person who has not attained the age of majority yet and this age of majority varies form jurisdiction to jurisdiction or under different acts. In India, the general age of majority is 18 years old however in case of property where there is a guardian present the age of majority is 21 years old.
Now, coming to the Principle of Estoppel;
It is a legal Principle which precludes a person from denying or to negate anything to the contrary of what they have previously said or agreed to by law. The Principle of Estoppel forbids a person from saying or doing anything that will violate its previous claims.
This rule does not apply to minor under Indian Contact Act 1872 because according to the Act itself a Minor is not competent to make a contract however the age of a minor or a minor is not defined anywhere under the Act. The Court of Law has already said that where a minor by misrepresenting his age has induced the other party to enter into a contract with him, he cannot be made liable for the contract; because the rule of estoppel does not apply to him and he will not be stopped from pleading his minority to avoid a contract.
I hope I was able to help. However, my answer is based on pure internet research. so, for more clarity I would suggest you to consult a professional.