A minor is not a person competent to contact as prescribed under Contract Act. A partnership firm is the organisation created with agreement between the partners of same. Therefore, a minor cannot become a partner at the firm. However, an exception is provided in case of partnership firm, where a minor can become a partner at the firm, but only for the profit. That means the minor would only be entitled to the profits of the firm and not be liable for the losses.
Further, the minor has an option to decide his/her continuance in the firm on obtaining age of 18 or becoming major or within 6 months of his awareness of being partner of the firm. He may either continue to be partner or not, at own discretion.
Section 30 of the Indian Partnership Act, provides that though a minor cannot be a partner in a firm, but, with the consent of all the partners for the time being, he may be admitted to the benefits of partnership by an agreement executed through his guardian with the other partners.
A minor can be admitted to the benefits of partnership with the consent of all the existing partners. It should be noted that consent of all the partners is required for a minor to be admitted in a partnership.
There must be a partnership in existence before a minor can be admitted to its benefits. Thus, a minor cannot form a new partnership but can be admitted in an existing partnership.
There cannot be a partnership consisting of all minors
The rights and liabilities of a minor who has been admitted to the benefits of partnership are governed by the following rules:-
The minor is entitled to receive his agreed share of the property and of the profits of the firm.
The minor has the right of inspecting and taking copies of the books of account of the firm. He has, however, no such right in respect of books other than accounts, as they may contain secrets which should be restricted to the partners alone
The minor is not personally liable to the debts of 3rd parties for the debts of the firm, but his liability is limited only up to his share in the partnership assets and profits. If partnership falls short in short in extinguishing the debts of the firm the separate person property of the minor cannot be applied for the payment of the debts of the firm.
The minor is not entitled to take part in conducting of the business as he has not representative capacity to bind the firm.
The minor cannot bring any suit against the partners for an account or payment of his share of the property or profits of the firm.
On attaining majority or on knowing that he had been admitted to the benefits of partnership, whichever is later, the minor must decide within 6 months whether he would like to become a partner in the firm and give public notice of his decision. If he remains silent and fails to give such a notice, it will be presumed that he has elected to be a partner in the firm.
The rights of a minor under the partnership act are as follows.
In the case of S.C Mandal V. Krishnadhan it was held that a minor cannot be a part of the contracted partnership. A minor can only be admitted to the benefits of a partnership, and that partnership has to exist independently. There cannot be a contract between two minors.
In the case of CIT V. Shah Mohandas Sadhuram, it was held that a minor may be admitted to the benefits of an existing firm.
In the case of Shriram sardarmal didwani V. Gourishankar, it was held that a minor is incompetent to contract and therefore a contract of partnership cannot be entered into with a minor.
According to section 11, a minor is not competent to contract. Section 30 of the Indian Partnership Act, lays down that a minor cannot become a partner but with the consent of the adult partners, he maybe be admitted to the benefits of the partnership.
A minor will have all the benefits of a partnership like a full partner.
He will be entitled to his shares and profits in the firm.
He has right to access and take copies of the accounts of the firm.
He will not be personally liable to third parties for the debts of the firm
His liability will be limited only to his shares in the partnership assets.