Question: Anticipatory breach | ‘A’, a singer contracts with ‘B’, the manager of a theatre for two nights every week during the next two months. ‘B’ agreed to pay ‘A’ Rs 500/- for every night. On the sixth night, ‘A’ wilfully absents from the theatre, and ‘B’ in consequence, rescinds the contract. Are ‘A’ and ‘B’ entitled to… Read More »

Question: Anticipatory breach | ‘A’, a singer contracts with ‘B’, the manager of a theatre for two nights every week during the next two months. ‘B’ agreed to pay ‘A’ Rs 500/- for every night. On the sixth night, ‘A’ wilfully absents from the theatre, and ‘B’ in consequence, rescinds the contract. Are ‘A’ and ‘B’ entitled to claim any compensation? If so, for what? And under what provisions of...

Question: Anticipatory breach | ‘A’, a singer contracts with ‘B’, the manager of a theatre for two nights every week during the next two months. ‘B’ agreed to pay ‘A’ Rs 500/- for every night. On the sixth night, ‘A’ wilfully absents from the theatre, and ‘B’ in consequence, rescinds the contract. Are ‘A’ and ‘B’ entitled to claim any compensation? If so, for what? And under what provisions of the law? [HJS 1998]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Anticipatory breach | A’, a singer contracts with ‘B’, the manager of a theatre for two nights every week during the next two months. ‘B’ agreed to pay ‘A’ Rs 500/- for every night. On the sixth night, ‘A’ wilfully absents from the theatre, and ‘B’ in consequence, rescinds the contract. Are ‘A’ and ‘B’ entitled to claim any compensation? If so, for what? And under what provisions of the law?]

Answer

Section 39 of the Indian Contract Act,1872 talks about what is the effect of the refusal of a party to perform the promise wholly. It states, “When a party to a contract has refused to perform or disabled himself from performing, his promise in its entirety, the promisee may put an end to the contract, unless he has signified, by words or conduct, his acquiescence in its continuance.” Section 39 of the Indian Contract Act gives expression to the doctrine of anticipatory breach.

The facts of the present case have been borrowed from the illustration appended to Section 38 of the Contract Act,1872. In the present case ‘A’, a singer, enters into a contract with ‘B’, the manager of a theatre, to sing at his theatre two nights every week during the next two months, and ‘B’ engages to pay her 500/- rupees for each night’s performance. On the sixth night, ‘A’ wilfully absents herself from the theatre. ‘B’ is at liberty to put an end to the contract.

Referring to the illustrations, Garth C.J. observed in Schiller v. Sooltan Chand, [ILR (1878) 4 Cal 252, 256] as follows:

That illustration is perhaps not a happy one, because it may lead to misapprehension. The singer by willfully absenting herself, though on one night only, did in fact refuse altogether to perform an integral and essential part of her contract. By doing so she put it out of her power to perform her contract in its entirety. But here the plaintiffs have never refused to perform any part of their contract. They were willing to pay the sum due as soon as their cross-claims were adjusted.’

However, if with the assent of ‘B’, ‘A’ sings on the seventh night. ‘B’ has signified his acquiescence in the continuance of the contract, and cannot now put an end to it, but is entitled to compensation for the damage sustained by him through A’s failure to sing on the sixth night.”

Moreover, under Section 65 in the Indian Contract Act, 1872: “When an agreement is discovered to be void, or when a contract becomes void, any person who has received any advantage under such agreement or contract is bound to restore it, or to make compensation for it, to the person from whom he received it.

Since in the present case, ‘A’ a singer, contracts with ‘B’ to sing at his theatre for two nights every week during the next two months, and ‘B’ engages to pay her 500/- rupees for each night’s performance. On the sixth night, ‘A’ willfully absents herself from the theatre, and ‘B’ in consequence, rescinds the contract. For the period of 5 nights, ‘B’ must pay ‘A’ on which she had sung.

The effect of the principle laid down in the section is that when the parties have entered into an apparently valid contract and some benefits have been passed under it, and subsequently the contract is either discovered to be void or becomes void, the party who has received the benefits must restore them to the other.


Law of Contract Mains Questions Series: Important Questions for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 20 Jan 2022 4:48 AM GMT
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