The constitution of India guarantees that the freedom of trade and commerce to every citizen and therefore section 27 declares “every agreement by which any one is restrained from exercising a lawful profession, trade or business of any kind, is to that extent void.” Thus no person is at livery to deprive himself of the fruit of his labor, skill or talent, by any contracts that he enters into.
It is to be noted that whether restraint is responsible or not, if it is in the nature of restraint of trade, the agreement is void always, subject to certain exceptions provided for statutorily.
An agreement whereby one of the parties agrees to close his business in consideration of the promise by the other party to pay a certain some of money , is void, being an agreement is restraint of trade, and the amount is not recoverable, if the other party fails to pay the promised some of money. (Mad hub Chander vs. Raj Kumar).
But agreements merely restraining freedom of action necessary for the carrying on of business are not void, for the law does not intend to take away the right of a trade to regulate his business according to his own discretion and choice.
An agreement to sell all produce to a certain party, with stipulation that the purchaser was bound to accept the whole quantity, was held valid because it aimed to promote business did not restrained it (Mackengie vs. Striramiah). But where in a similar agreement the purchaser was free to reject the goods (i.e. was not bound to accept the whole quantity tendered) it was held that the agreement was void as being in restraint of trade (Sheikh Kalu vs. Ram Saran)
(5) Agreement in restraint of legal proceedings-
Every agreement, by which any party thereto is restricted absolutely from enforcing his right under or in respect of any contract, by the usual legal proceedings in the ordinary tribunals, or which limits the time within which he may thus enforce his rights, is void to that extent. Section 28 declares the following two kinds of agreements void:
(a) An agreement by which a party is restrained absolutely from taking usual legal
Proceeding, in respect of any rights arising from a contract.
(b) An agreement which limits the time within which one may enforce his contract
Rights, without to the time allowed by the limitation act.
In a contract of fire insurance, it was provided that if a claim is rejected and a suit is not filed within three months after such rejection, all benefits under the policy shell be forfeited. The provision was held valid and binding and the suit filed after three months was dismissed. (Baroda spinning Ltd. vs. Satyanarayan Marine and Fire Ins. Com. Ltd.)
Exception 1: This section shell not render illegal a contract by which two or more persons agree that any dispute which may arise between them in respect of any subject or class of subjects shell be referred to arbitration and that only the amount awarded in such arbitration shell be recoverable in respect of the dispute so referred.
Exception 2: Nor shell this section render illegal any contract in writing, by which two or more persons agree to refer to arbitration any question between them which has already arisen, or affect any provision of any law in force for the time being as to references to arbitration.
(6) Uncertain Agreements-
“Agreements, the meaning of which is not certain, or capable of being made certain, are void” (Sec-29). Through Sec-29 the law aims to ensure that the parties to a contract should be aware of the precise nature and scope of their mutual rights and obligation under the contract. Thus, if the word used by the parties are or indefinite, the law cannot enforce the agreement.
(a) A agrees to sell to B “a hundred tons of oil.” There is nothing whatever to show what kind of oil was intended. The agreement is void for uncertainty.
(b) A who is dealer in coconut oil only, agrees to sell to B “a hundred tons if oil.” The nature of A’s trade affords an indication of the meaning of the words, and A has entered into a contract for the sale of one hundred toms of coconut oil.
(c) A agrees to sell to B “one thousand mounds of rice at a price to be fixed by C.” As the price is capable of being made certain, there is no uncertainty here to make the agreement void.
(d) A agrees to sell to “his white house for rupees five hundred or rupees one thousand.” There is nothing to show which of the price was to be given. The agreement is void.
Further, an agreement “to enter into an agreement in future” is void for uncertainty unless all the terms of the proposed agreement are agreed expressly or implicitly. Thus, an agreement to engage a servant some time next year, at a salary to be mutually agreed upon is a void agreement.
(7) Wagering Agreement-
Literally the word ‘wager’ means ‘a bet’ something stated to be lost or won on the result of a doubtful issue, and, therefore, wagering agreements are nothing but ordinary betting agreements. Thus where A and B mutually agree that if it rains today A will pay B Tk.100 and if it does not rain B will pay A Tk.100 or C and D entered into agreement that on tossing up a coin, if it fall head upwards C will pay D Tk.50 and if falls tail upwards D will pay C Tk.50, there is a wagering agreement.
In Tracker vs. Hardy Cotton, L.J., described a ‘wager’ ad follows: “The essence of gaming and wagering is that one party is to win and the other to lose upon a future event which at the time of the contract is of an uncertain nature- that is to say, if the event turns out the other way he will win.”
Agreement by way of wager, void. Section 30 lays down that “agreements by way of wager are void; and no suit shell be brought for recovering anything alleged to be won on any wager, or entrusted to any person to abide the result of any game or other uncertain event on which any wager is made,” Thus, where A and B enter into an agreement which provides that if England’s cricket team wins the match, A will pay B Rs. 100, and if it loses B will pay Rs. 100 to A, nothing can be recovered by the winning party under the agreement, it being a wager. Similarly, whether C and D enter into a wagering agreement and each deposits Rs.100 with Z instructing him to pay or give the total sum to the winner, no suit can be brought by the winner for recovering the bet amount from Z, the stake-holder. Further, if Z had paid the sum to the winner, the looser cannot bring a suit, for recovering his Rs.100, either against the winner or against, the stake-holder, even if Z had paid after the loser’s definite instructions not to pay. Of course the looser can recover back his deposit if he makes the demand before the stake-holder had paid it over to the winner (Ratnakalli vs. Vochalapu). But even such a deposit cannot be recovered by a loser in the States of Maharashtra and Gujarat where such an agreement is void and illegal.
(8) Agreement Contingent on Impossible Events-
“Contingent agreements to do or not to do anything if an impossible event happens are void, whether the impossibility of the event is know on not to the parties to thr agreement at the time when it is made.” (Sec. 36)
(a) A agrees to pay B Rs.1000 (as a loan) if two straight line should enclosed a space. The agreement is void.
(b) A agrees to pay B Rs.1000 (as a loan) if B will marry A’s daughter, C. C was dead at the time of the agreement, the agreement is void.
(9) Agreements to do Impossible Act-
“An agreement to do an act impossible in itself is void.” (Sec, 56 Part-1)
(a) A agrees with B to discover treasure by magic. The agreement is void. [Section 56].
(b) A agrees with B to run with a speed of 100 Kilometer per hour. The agreement is void.
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