November 1, 2020

Position and Legal Status of Minor in India

A minor is a person who has no legal rights at a particular age. Position and Legal Status of Minor- A minor can’t enter into contract, transfer property, has immunity under IPC.

 

WHO IS A MINOR?

A minor is a person who has no legal rights at a particular age. This means a minor is a person who does not have some legal rights at a particular age. Minors do not have a full legal capacity as much as adults have. Generally, minors are not granted the legal rights of adults until the minors reached the majority age. Generally in India, the majority age considers of any person at the age of 18 because, before the age of 18 years, the minors or child are still developing by their nature, health, knowledge, etc. When minors developed physically and mentally and cross the age of 18, then they are considered as a mature person. They are considering as adults, they are capable of handling the same legal rights and duties as mature adults.

Like they can give a vote or they have the right to give a vote, they have the right to sue and own property and also they are capable of contract. But maturity is not always depending on age. In Some cases, the minor has enough maturity and understanding of nature and the majors haven’t. Every child is different in their way. The child or minor also required some basic needs. Every child is entitled to the same treatment, no discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, caste disability and religion. There is a different-different provision in the legal status of the minors.

 

POSITION AND LEGAL STATUS OF MINOR: ACCORDING TO INDIAN CONTRACT ACT, 1872

According to section 3 of the Indian Contract Act, the person who is a citizen of India and whose age is under the age of 18 years then that person is considered as the minor. According to this section, the minor agreement is void. A minor is not a competent person to enter into a contract. Section 2 of the Indian Contract Act says that the parties must be competent to come in the contract or to make an agreement; they must not be unsound mind, not disqualified by law and minor. Section 3 of the Indian Majority Act 1875, explained the term “minor[1]“. The minor is a person who is not completed his 18 years of age.

In the case of Mohri bibi v. Damodardas Ghosh[2], held that any agreement made by a minor is completely void. That agreement is void ab initio and the court cannot allow a specific performance of a contract with the minors because it is completely void.

 

POSITION AND LEGAL STATUS OF MINOR: ACCORDING TO TRANSFER OF PROPERTY ACT, 1882

A minor is a person who is not competent to contract in Transfer of Property Act but the transfer of property act; a minor can accept the gift of an Immovable property and also without the intervention of his guardians. According to the Transfer of Property Act, the property can be transferable to the unborn child as per Section 13; the Transfer of Property Act 1882 defines the unborn child or a child who is in mother womb. The property can be transferred to the unborn child, for this transfer a life interest or a life holder is created. A person who is a life interest he can enjoy the property behalf the unborn child but he cannot transfer the property. A minor can acquire the immovable property out of his funds.

 

POSITION AND LEGAL STATUS OF MINOR: ACCORDING TO INDIAN SUCCESSION ACT, 1925

Section 144 of the Indian succession act, 1925 provides for the creation of prior interest before the unborn person may be made the owner of the property. The person can create an interest in the name of the unborn child in a property. But that created interest of the property can only be vested after the unborn child is born alive.

 

POSITION AND LEGAL STATUS OF MINOR:  ACCORDING TO INDIAN PENAL CODE

According to section 82 of the Indian Penal Code, a child below the age of 7 years old get a complete defence from any kind of criminal liability. A child below the age of 7 years old the child cannot be guilty of any offence. Because this age of a child cannot distinction between what is good or wrong. It works under the assumption that a child below the age of 7 years lacks the ability of understanding and unable to understand the nature and consequences of the act that he or she has done and the mens rea is not present in this case.

According to section 83 of the Indian Penal Code, there is a partial defence from the criminal liability conferred on child above the age of 7 years and below the age of 12 years. Age between the 7 years and 12 years is capable to understand the nature and consequences of the offence that he or she is done.

 

MATURITY OF UNDERSTANDING 

The child is whose age is between the 7 years and below the 12 years; the liability depends upon the maturity level of the child.

Example: A is a child whose age is 10 years and he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the things or his act. His act can be absolved from the liability. But B is another child whose age is 9 years and he has enough maturity and he can understand the nature and consequences of the act he does, can be held liable. The maturity and understanding of the child can be inferred from the circumstances that involve in the crime. And it is different in different cases.

In The Indian penal code, the child is 7 years and below the age of 12 years, it has to prove that the child has not attained enough maturity or understanding of the nature and consequences of the offence he does.

In the case of Krishna Bhagwan v. State of Bihar[3]held that if the accused of the offence or act during the trial, he has attained the age of 7 years or at the time of decision that child attained the age of 7 years can be convicted if he can understand the nature and consequences of the offence.

In the case of Marsh v. Loader[4] held the A child was caught stealing a piece of wood from the premises of the defendant. But the child was not liable, he was discharged on the ground that he was under the below age of 7 years.

 

CONCLUSION

In India, generally, the minor’s age is below the 18 years, because below the 18 years the person unable to understand the nature and consequences of the act. The person is not enough mature. The minors are not enough mature, so he cannot participate in the legal rights like the right to vote is not for the minors. But maturity is not always depending on age.

In Some cases, the minor has enough maturity and understanding of nature and the majors haven’t. Although every child grows and matures at different rates, there are some rights that every child is born with it. Right to life, article 21 of the Indian constitution is also a right of minors and for instance, children are also entitled to a safe environment, good nutrition, healthcare, education. Every child is entitled to the same treatment, no discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, caste disability and religion.

 

[1] The minor is a person who is not completed his 18 years age.

[2] Mohri bibi vs. Damodardas ghosh 1903, (1903) 30 cal. 539.

[3] Krishna Bhagwan v. State of Bihar, AIR 1989 PAT 217.

[4] Marsh v. Loader, (1863) 14 CBNS 535,


Author: Meghna Chandravanshi

Editor: Aayush Akar

The views of the author are personal only. (if any)

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