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Report No. 146

2.4. Legal position in regard to Contract.-

It is perhaps needless to point out that the "sale" of a woman or child would not be regarded as a valid contractual transaction for the purposes of civil liability. In a Madhya Pradesh Case1, a woman was "sold" (though not in open market). The purchasers sued for refund of the consideration because the sale failed in its purpose. The plaintiff (a woman) had made an arrangement with the defendant to provide a dongi girl as a mistress for the plaintiff's son. The defendant sent a girl to the plaintiff's house, making the representation that the girl was I.

But the girl went back to her village after staying for only twenty days with the plaintiff's son. The plaintiff later discovered that 'the girl was a dancing girl. The plaintiff sued for refund of the money. The defendant raised the plea of unenforceability of the agreement. The trial court as well as the first appellate court decreed the suit. On second appeal the High Court set aside the decree, as the agreement violated Article 23 of the Constitution and the suit could not be countenanced. It may also be mentioned that in another case decided by the same High Court2 the proposition that individuals cannot be treated as chattels, has been recognised.

1. Nihal Singh v. Ram Bai, AIR 1987 MP 126 (127).

2. Manohar Dalai v. State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1987 MP 132 (134).



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