Lingo Bhimrao Naik v. Dattatrya Shripad Jamadagni
(1937) 39 BOM LR 1233
Defendant, adoptive mother of plaintiff, was alleged to use undue-influence to obtain the consent of the plaintiff, once he attained the age of majority, to ratify the gift deeds made to her daughters in regard to non-watan property. Though the agreement to ratify such deeds was in contemplation of defendant and natural father of plaintiff, even before plaintiff’s adoption, but as and when he came off by age, he was compelled by defendant to ratify the gifts without waiting to consult his natural father, by threatening him that: firstly, his marriage will not be performed, secondly, his education will be stopped, and thirdly, his adoption will be cancelled. He was further pressurized by elders and well-wishers of family that he will be ruined if didn’t execute the deeds.
Whether the ratification of gift deed by plaintiff was obtained by undue influence such that any conveyance of title under said deed was rendered void?
Importunity or threats or moral command asserted for the sake of escaping from distress of peace or mind, if carried to such an extent by a person by virtue of his position to dominate the will of other, that the judgment or free will of other party is overweighed, then the consent so obtained is vitiated by undue influence as under S.16.
In present case, plaintiff was living under the authority of his adoptive mother such that he was dependent on her for maintenance and education to the extent that she was in a position to dominate his will. Secondly, in threatening plaintiff, she used her position of dominance to obtain an advantage aversive to plaintiff’s rights; plaintiff wouldn’t have executed the gift deed but for the threatening attitude, pressure and admonitions from defendant, relatives and other well wishers of family. Thirdly, plaintiff wasn’t aware of his legal rights nor was he allowed to consult his natural father; he didn’t act with open and free mind and with the knowledge that the gift deeds which ere by themselves invalid could be validated only by his signature. Therefore, the deed is liable to be set aside.
Author: Vishrut Kansal (National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata)