Legal IQ

Quick Referencer for Judicial Service Aspirants

Q. ‘X’ supplies rice and wheat to the wife and children of ‘Y’ who is a lunatic. ‘Y’ has property worth Rs. 50,000. On non-payment, can ‘X’ proceed against ‘Y’? Would your answer be same if ‘Y’ instead of being of lunatic, was a minor?
U.P. Civil Services (Main) Exam. 1990

Ans: Yes, ‘X’ can proceed against ‘Y’ and my answer would be same if ‘Y’ is not a lunatic but a minor—Section 68 (Claim for necessaries supplied to person incapable of contracting or on his account).

Reasons: In this problem ‘Y’ is a lunatic and a lunatic or a minor is incapable of making a contract (Section 10).
But according to Section 68 if a person incapable of making a contract, or any one whom he is legally bound to support supplied with necessaries suited to his condition in life then the person who supplied the necessaries is entitled to be reimbursed from the property of such incapable person.

In this problem ‘Y’ is a lunatic and he is legally bound to support his wife and children. Thus, if rice and wheat (necessaries) are supplied to them by ‘X’, ‘X’ is entitled to be reimbursed from the property of such lunatic in view of provision made in
Section 68. Hence, in the given problem ‘X’ can proceed against ‘Y’. The answer would be same if ‘Y’ is not a lunatic but a minor because a minor is also incapable of entering into a contract.

However, it is notable that in such cases incapable person is not personally liable for necessaries supplied to him, only his property is liable.

Thus, if a person incapable of making contract has no property, no action would lie against him (But in the given problem ‘Y’ has property worth Rs. 50,000, hence ‘X’ can proceed against him).

Note: This problem is based on Illustrations (a) and (b) of Section 68 which reads as follows—

(a) ‘A’ supplies ‘B’, a lunatic, with necessaries suitable to his condition in life. ‘A’ is entitled to be reimbursed from B’s property.

(b) ‘A’ supplies the wife and children of ‘B’, a lunatic, with necessaries suitable to their condition in life. ‘A’ is entitled to be reimbursed from B’s property.

Source: Kishor Prasad, Problems & Solutions on Civil Law

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