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Aakritu   07 April 2022

Legal maxim

What is the scope of the maxim of Nudum Pactum?


 1 Replies

Aarushi   07 April 2022

The maxim of Nudum Pactum literally means “naked agreement”, meaning an agreement without any consideration. The Indian Contract Act, 1872, specifies that any promise which is not renumerated by a consideration cannot become a contract. A Nudum Pactum, or an agreement cannot be pursued in the Court of Law since it is not a valid Contract. However, there are also certain cases where a Nudum Pactum, or an agreement without a contract becomes enforceable. These exceptions are mentioned in Section 25 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. The first exception says that any promise which is made out of natural love and affection shall be considered a valid contract even if there is no consideration. The second exception says that any promise which is made in return of a past service which may have been done by the promisee for the promisor shall also be considered valid. The third exception says that any time barred debt which is recoverable and has not been recovered by the creditor can be paid through a promise. Lastly, Section 148 of the Indian Contract Act, 182 also talks about Bailment, where goods are bailed for a purpose and returned after the purpose has been fulfilled. The gratuitous type of bailment does not require any kind of consideration.

Rann v. Hughes

In this case, Rann, who was the administratrix of John Hughes’ estate was sued by Mary Hughes, who was promised a sum of £983 as settlement for a disagreement that took place between her and John. On Mary’s death, the executor of her inheritance asked Rann to pay the sum which had now become £3,000. The Court held that since there was no consideration in this case, the agreement was void ab initio and no amount has to be paid.

Rajlukhy Dabee v. Bhootnath Mookerjee

In this case, the wife who was the plaintiff had been promised a separate apartment and support by her husband, which he failed to provide. When the matter was brought into the Court, it was held that when the Contract was made, there was no love between husband and wife and thus, the presence of no consideration on behalf of the wife made the Contract void ab initio.

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