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Diya Arvind   28 February 2022

legal maxim

what is the scope of "Lex Non Cogit Ad Impossibilia"?


 1 Replies

Aarushi   28 February 2022

The maxim of Lex non Cogit Ad impossibilia forms the basis for the Doctrine of Impossibility. This maxim means that any person cannot be compelled to perform an act which is impossible in nature. This doctrine also forms one of the pillars of the Doctrine of necessity along with the maxim of Impotentia excusat legam. This just states that when a person has to perform a task and he is unable to, not due to a fault at his side, then the law excuses him. Section 56 of the Indian Contract Act works on this principle and states that a contract which is impossible to perform is void ab initio. In the case of State of Rajasthan v. Shamsher Singh, the Supreme Court held that specially in case of time limiting tasks, if it is impossible to perform, the person shall be excused and no repercussions shall follow.

Life Insurance Corporation Ltd. V. CIT

In this case, the Court observed that an employee could not have performed an act when he was not employed in the corporation. And thus, the maxim of Lex non Cogit Ad impossibilia was applied and it was held that the non-performance of an impossible task shall be excused by the law.

State of Uttar Pradesh v. Inhuman Condition at quarantine centres and for providing better treatment to corona positive.

In this case, the Supreme Court observed that the Doctrine of Impossibility which was usually only applied in cases of contractual agreement would also be applied on Court Orders. Allahabad High Court has issued a number of directions to the State Government to improve the health infrastructure of the State. The orders by the Allahabad High Court were said to be impossible and the Supreme Court directed the government to take those orders as advice.

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