Friday, October 05, 2007

Contract Act_Practical Problems_3

A woman fraudulently represented to a firm of jewellers that she was the wife of a certain minister and thus obtained two pearl necklaces on credit on the pretend of buying them. She subsequently sold those necklaces to a third party. Can the jeweler recover the necklaces from the third party ?

Yes, the jeweller can recover the necklaces from the third party. It is because, consent is a mental phenomenon and absence of it renders a contract void ab initio. In the present case, since the woman introduced herself as the wife of a minister thereby leading the jeweller to believe that he was contracting not with the lady physically present in the shop but with the wife of the suggested minister. Hence, not that the contract is voidable on ground of fraud but because of mistake as to the person contracted with, there is no contract at all, there being absence of consent altogether.

The woman, therefore, got no title. And a person who has no title can obviously confer none. Thus, third party can claim no rights on those necklaces even though purchased in good faith and for value. Similar decision was given in the case of Lake v. Simmons on which the facts of this problem are based.

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