Effect of Minor’s Agreement


Anyone who is under the age of 18 is known as a minor. Every agreement with minors is void from the beginning. it is void and null hence there is no legal obligations arising from a minor’s agreement and contract per se hence nobody who has not attained the age of majority can enter into a contract.

Mental Incapacity

A person who cannot form mental intent to enter into a contract be it a major or a minor can make a contract void. The ground on which one can decide one’s mental capacity is whether one understood what was the contract all about and the consequences arising from the contract. This is known as a “cognitive” test. Another type of test is the “effective” test: a contract is said to be void if one party has reason to know of the condition of the other party’s inability to act reasonably. The last one is known as the “motivational” test. In this the court measures one’s ability to enter or not to enter into an agreement. These tests usually produce varying results.

The concept of minor’s agreement is explained in Mohori Bibee V. Dharmodas Ghose case :

A minor in this case mortgage his property in favour of Brahmo Dutt, the defendant the attorney at the time when the transaction was taking place had knowledge about plaintiff being a minor, an action was brought against Brahmo Dutt by Dharmodas Ghose on the grounds that Dharmodas was a minor when he executed the mortgage and the mortgage should be void and canceled. the judgment held that contractual agreement with minors is void thus mortgage deed is also void.

1) A minor’s agreement is void from the beginning: A contractual agreement dealing with a person below the age of 18 in India is considered void from the beginning in the same way a minor can not enter into a contract. A minor’s agreement can easily be explained through the case of Mohori Bibee V. Dharmodas Ghose.

2) A minor’s property is liable for necessaries: if a minor is supplied by someone with food, medication, clothing and other necessities, the person who supplied such necessities is entitled to be reimbursed from the property of that person.

3) No estoppel against a person below the age of 18: A Minor inducing another person by falsely representing himself to be a major to enter into a contract with that person, can appeal his age as a defense.

4) No ratification of contractual agreement: minor’s agreement being void, an agreement entered by him during his minority cannot be ratified after becoming a major.

5) No specific performance of contractual agreement: the party and the minor in a minor’s agreement cannot be urged for specific performance of an agreement.

6) The rule of estoppel: Estoppel is a rule which can hold a party liable who has started to do something before coming into a contract as a part of the -consideration. this rule can not be applied to minors.

7) Restitution of benefit: when a person at whose option a contract is voidable revokes it, the other party need not perform it. This applies to voidable contracts, but a minor’s contract being void, a minor cannot be asked to refund the moneylender.

8) No insolvency: Due to minor’s incapability of contracting debts and dues payable from the minor’s personal property he is not personally liable as the result of which he can not be held insolvent

9) Minor can be an agent: A minor can work as an agent. But can not be held liable for his acts to the principal. A minor can deliver, indorse and draw negotiable instruments without being liable himself.

General rule exceptions

The certain exceptions to contractual agreement of minors are :

When the minor has performed his obligation: In a contract, a person below the age of 18 cannot become a promisor but can be a promisee. In case the party hasn’t completed their obligations but the minor has then the minor can enforce the contract being a promisee.

A contract entered by a minor’s guardian for his benefit: In this case if a party does not perform its promise the minor being a promisee can sue the non-performing party. In the case of Great American Insurance v. Madan Lal, the guardian entered into an insurance contract on the behalf of the son in respect of fire for the minor’s property. When the property was damaged a compensation was questioned by the minor, the contract was opposed by the insurer on the grounds of the minor’s incompetency to enter into a contract. But later it was held that this contract was enforceable, and the insurer is liable to the guardian.

When a minor is supplied with Necessities

In case a minor who is incompetent to enter into a contractual relationship and is provided by another person with necessities of life, the person who thus supplied the necessities to the minor can be reimbursed from the property of the minor. A minor cannot be bound if he does not have any property.

Two conditions must be satisfied to render minor’s estate liable for necessaries
(a) the necessaries supplied to the minor should really be necessities required for the support of a minor’s life.
(b) there shouldn’t be sufficient supply of these necessities with the minor before.


It can be concluded from the researched facts mentioned that a minor’s contract is void as soon as one enters into a contract with the minor because a minor cannot form a mental capacity to enter into a contract. Besides minor’s agreement being void there are certain exceptions to the general rule. Therefore it concludes that a minor’s agreement is considered as void from the beginning due to minor’s incompetency to form mental intent to enter into a contract and also because of minor’s inability to draw consequences arising from the contract.

This article is authored by Vritant Bhatt, student of Symbiosis Law School Noida.

Also Read – What Are The Legal Rules As To a Valid Contract?

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