The Indian Contract Act, 1872
25. Agreement without consideration, void, unless it is in writing and registered or is a promise to compensate for something done or is a promise to pay a debt barred by limitation law –
An agreement made without consideration is void, unless –
(1) it is expressed in writing and registered under the law for the time being in force for the registration of 1documents, and is made on account of natural love and affection between parties standing in a near relation to each other; or unless.
(2) it is a promise to compensate, wholly or in part, a person who has already voluntarily done something for the promisor, or something which the promisor was legally compellable to do; or unless.
(3) it is a promise, made in writing and signed by the person to be charged therewith or by his agent generally or specially authorised in that behalf, to pay wholly or in part debt of which the creditor might have enforced payment but for the law for the limitation of suits. In any of these cases, such an agreement is a contract.
Explanation 1 : Nothing in this section shall affect the validity, as between the donor and donee, of any gift actually made.
Explanation 2 : An agreement to which the consent of the promisor is freely given is not void merely because the consideration is inadequate; but the inadequacy of the consideration may be taken into account by the Court in determining the question whether the consent of the promisor was freely given.
(a) A promises, for no consideration, to give to B Rs. 1,000. This is a void agreement.
(b) A, for natural love and affection, promises to give his son, B, Rs. 1,000. A puts his promise to B into writing and registers it. This is a contract.
(c) A finds B’s purse and gives it to him. B promises to give A Rs. 50. This is a contract.
(d) A supports B’s infant son. B promises to pay A’s expenses in so doing. This is a contract.
(e) A owes B Rs. 1,000, but the debt is barred by the Limitation Act. A signs a written promise to pay B Rs. 500 on account of the debt. This is a contract.
(f) A agrees to sell a horse worth Rs. 1,000 for Rs. 10. A’s consent to the agreement was freely given. The agreement is a contract notwithstanding the inadequacy of the consideration.
(g) A agrees to sell a horse worth Rs. 1,000 for Rs. 10. A denies that his consent to the agreement was freely given.
The inadequacy of the consideration is a fact which the Court should take into account in considering whether or not A’s consent was freely given.
Natural love and affection as a consideration
In order to rely upon clause (1) of section 25, the existence of the factum of natural love and affection between parties standing in a near relation to each other is a condition precedent; Rajlukhy Dabee v. Bhootnath Mookherjee, (1900) 4 CWN 488.
If the services are rendered voluntarily, without the desire of the promisor or otherwise than at his request and the promisor undertakes to recompense the person who has rendered his services for it. In such cases, the promise does not need a consideration to support it, and the case falls under section 25 of the Act; Sindha Shri Ganpatsingji v. Abraham alias Vazir Mahomed Akuji, (1895) 20 Bom 755.
1. Subs. by Act 12 of 1891, sec. 2 and Sch. II, Pt. I, for “assurances”.