nannu pertin 27 April 2020
Karishma Yadav 27 April 2020
Thank you for your question.
‘Nemo dat quod non habet’ means no one can give what they do not have. The essence of the maxim is that only the real owner can pass a real title to the buyer in sale. In the context of sale of goods, no one can transfer a better title than he himself.
Section 27 of Sale of Goods Act, explains this maxim elaborately. It provides for Sale by person not the owner. It says that where goods are sold by a person who is not the owner and sells them without any authority or the consent of the owner, the buyer acquires no better title to the goods than the seller had, unless the owner of the goods is by conduct precluded from denying the seller’s authority to sell.
The exception to this provision are-
In the case of Pearson v. Rose & Young ltd. it was held that if the title is obtained without the consent of the owner, the buyer did not acquire a good title.
Section 29 of SOGA talks about Sale by person in possession under voidable contract. It says that when the seller has obtained possession under a voidable contract but the contract has not rescinded at the time of the sale, the buyer acquires a good title, provided done in good faith.
So, to answer your question, the maxim is used to explain the effect of a sale conducted by a person who is not the real owner. But there are exceptions to this which are estoppel by the real owner and sale by mercantile agent.
Hope this answers your question.