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LALMAN SHUKLA v. GAURI DUTT

Author: Nishtha Tiwari, II year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from University of Allahabad (SSKGDC)


In the Allahabad High Court Case No. Civil Revision No. 10 of 1913 Equivalent Citation: 1913 40 ALJ 489 Appellants: Lalman Shukla Respondent Gauri Datt Decided on: 17th April, 1913 Bench Justice: Banerjee


Facts of the case

It’s the Predominant case in the Indian Contract act. So, what exactly happened There were two people who were staying in a home peacefully they were having a very good vacation on a good summer day It was Gauri Dutt and his nephew and day when they were playing Gauri Dutt nephew went missing Gauri Dutt searched for the missing child and he couldn't find him and immediately he doesn't know what to do.


He called his servant Lalman Shukla and said can you help me in finding my missing nephew Lalman Shukla said why not sir I am here for your services so immediately Lalman Shukla went for searching the missing child Now Gauri Dutt also felt it's not fair for me to just depend on Lalman Shukla and he also published on the same thing on papers pamphlet and flyers and he's published saying that whomever finds my missing nephew they'll be rewarded with rupees 501.

After a couple of days Lalman Shukla actually found the nephew and he returned nephew back to his master Gauri Dutt overwhelming joy and he actually appreciated and thanked and he also gave him 20 rupees for doing this Favour and Lalman Shukla also didn't ask for anything much Lalman Shukla thanked his master and he left the place After some time while Lalman Shukla went out and after few days Lalman Shukla actually found this ad on one of the trees that's the missing boy whatever the reward amount Which was been awarded for the missing nephew Lalman Shukla went to the master and claimed for this rupees 501 Gauri Dutt didn't pay rupees to Lalman Shukla was denied being paid the reward amount.


Gauri Dutt fired Lalman Shukla six months after the incident. After being fired, the plaintiff demanded the money, which the defendant refused to pay. To obtain the reward money, Lalman Shukla filed a case against his master, Gauri Dutt.


Lalman Shukla files a case in Cawnpore's Court of Small Causes. Then, in the Allahabad High Court, he files a revision application against the Court of Small Causes' decision.


ISSUES RAISED

  • Whether Lalman Shukla was eligible for Gauri Dutt's reward for finding the missing boy.

  • Is the contract legitimate or not?

  • Whether there was valid acceptance between the two?

  • Was he aware of this reward when he went for in search of the missing child?


CONTENTIONS

Plaintiff’s contentions

Lalman Shukla strongly contended that he was entitled to receive the reward money from Gauri Dutt as he found the missing nephew. He emphasised that prior awareness is not required, citing Section 8 of the Indian Contract Act 1872, which states, "Performance of the act or acceptance of any consideration in a proposal is the acceptance of the proposal." He said, “to have the knowledge of the condition was immaterial


Defendant’s contention

The defendant strongly argued that the plaintiff had no knowledge about the offer and was not aware of it before finding the missing nephew. So, an offer without the knowledge of the offeree cannot be accepted or there is no such condition where the plaintiff can accept the offer without its knowledge. Gauri Dutt addressed Section 2(a), which states, "When one person indicates to another his readiness to do or abstain from doing anything, with the intention of getting the other's approval to such act or abstinence, he is said to make a proposal." Section 2(b) added, "The proposal is said to be accepted when the person to whom the proposal is made signifies his assent thereto." When a proposal is accepted, it transforms into a promise.” As a result, the plaintiff was unaware of the offer and there was no acceptance. As a result, pursuant to Section 2(h) of the Indian Contract Act 1872, there was no agreement to be enforced by a court of law because there was no acceptance.


The Judgement

Judgement of the case

In the case of Lalman Shukla verses Gauri Dutt case the petitioners appeal against the respondent Gauri Dutt was dismissed by the court. After analyzing all the facts of the case, it was held by the honorable court that for creating or entering into a valid contract there has to be knowledge and assent to the offer being made by the proposer. There has to be proper acceptance or the offeree must give his approval before accepting which was absent in the present case[1]. The plaintiff had no knowledge about the reward before performing his act. He came to know afterwards in which there is no possibility of accepting the offer. Hence there exist no contract so as a result the court came to the decision that the appellant Lalman Shukla was not entitled to get the reward. without having any prior knowledge and information about the facts which restricts him to claim the reward.[2]

The judge said that Lalman Shukla was fulfilling his obligations as a servant of tracing the missing boy. It was a part of his duty which he was merely doing. so hence his suit against the defendant was completely dismissed by the court as there was no contract between both the parties.[3]


Related Provisions

  • Section 2(a) of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines proposal as follows- “When one person signifies to another his willingness to do or to abstain from doing anything, with a view to obtaining the assent of that other to such act or abstinence, he is said to make a proposal.”

  • Section 2(b) of Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines promise as follows: “When the person to whom the proposal is made signifies his assent thereto, the proposal is said to be accepted. A proposal, when accepted, becomes a promise.”[4]

  • Section 2(h) of Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines contract as follows: “An agreement enforceable by law is a contract.”

  • Section 3 of Indian Contract Act, 1872 states that: The proposal must be communicated to the person who is expected to accept the offer.

  • Section 8 of Indian Contract Ct, 1872 defines: “Performance of the conditions of a proposal, or the acceptance of any consideration for a reciprocal promise which may be offered with a proposal, is an acceptance of the proposal.”

This means that

  • Offer + Acceptance = Agreement

  • Agreement + Enforceable by law = Contract[5]


Important Points in Lalman Shukla Vs. Gauri Dutta

  1. There must be an intention to establish legal connections between the parties.

  2. An offer may be expressed or implied.

  3. The offer's terms must be specific and not ambiguous.

  4. Silence does not constitute consent.

  5. To get the other's acceptance, an offer must be made.

  6. It must be communicated in an appropriate manner.

  7. A contract is not formed when two identical cross offers are made.

  8. An offer is not the same as an invitation to make an offer. As explained in this situation, an offer can be general or particular.

Related Cases The petitioner argued in the support of the following cases Gibbon's verses proctor: In this case, the court decided that if a person fulfils specific contract terms even though he is unaware of the reward or lacks knowledge of the reward, he is entitled to receive the prize. The responder made an argument in Favour of the case.

Fitch verses Snedaker: Fitch was not entitled to the reward in this case because accepting the offer while unaware of it is not the same as accepting it. And the person accepting the offer, or the offeree, must be fully informed of the prize prior to performing. A person who supplies information without knowing it is not eligible for the award.


Williams v Carwardine: When the offer is accepted on the basis of the proposer's proposal fulfilling the ineluctable requirements, there is a valid agreement.


Conclusion

Accepting an offer isn't an acceptance if the individual doing the obligation is unaware of the prize that comes with it, according to the case of Lalman Shukla vs. Gauri Dutt. This case established the concept of a general offer, which is one that is made to the whole public. Acceptance is not defined as an action taken without knowledge of the proposition, and it does not confer any rights on the acceptor. Transmission of the offer to the offeree is also required for a valid offer. In this situation, however, the offeror lacked acceptance and communication, and hence was not entitled to the award.

[1] Case Commentary on Lalman Shukla Verses Gauri Dutt on (Sept.19,2021, 10:04PM). https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-5805-case-commentary-on-lalman-shukla-verses-gauri-dutt.html [2]Case Commentary on Lalman Shukla Verses Gauri Dutt on (Sept.19,2021, 10:04PM). https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-5805-case-commentary-on-lalman-shukla-verses-gauri-dutt.html [3]Case Commentary on Lalman Shukla Verses Gauri Dutt on (Sept.19,2021, 10:04PM). https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-5805-case-commentary-on-lalman-shukla-verses-gauri-dutt.html [4] Shruti Gulati, Lalman shukla v.Gauri Dutt: - case analysis- Our Legal world, (Sept.19,2021,11:45PM), https://www.ourlegalworld.com/lalman-shukla-v-gauri-dutt-case-analysis-our-legal-world/ [5] Shruti Gulati, Lalman shukla v.Gauri Dutt: - case analysis- Our Legal world, (Sept.19,2021,11:45PM), https://www.ourlegalworld.com/lalman-shukla-v-gauri-dutt-case-analysis-our-legal-world/