Question: Consideration of promise | Two seamen deserted a ship and the remaining seamen agreed to take the ship to the port in return for extra wages. The ship safely reaches the port. Are they entitled to extra wages? [Punjab JS 2006] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Consideration of promise | Two… Read More »

Question: Consideration of promise | Two seamen deserted a ship and the remaining seamen agreed to take the ship to the port in return for extra wages. The ship safely reaches the port. Are they entitled to extra wages? [Punjab JS 2006] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Consideration of promise | Two seamen deserted a ship and the remaining seamen agreed to take the ship to the port in return for extra wages. The ship safely reaches the port. Are they entitled to...

Question: Consideration of promise | Two seamen deserted a ship and the remaining seamen agreed to take the ship to the port in return for extra wages. The ship safely reaches the port. Are they entitled to extra wages? [Punjab JS 2006]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Consideration of promise | Two seamen deserted a ship and the remaining seamen agreed to take the ship to the port in return for extra wages. The ship safely reaches the port. Are they entitled to extra wages?]

Answer

According to Section 2(d) of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 “when at the desire of the promisor, promisee or any other person has done or abstained from doing or does or abstains from doing or promises to do or to abstain from doing something, such act or abstinence, or promise is called a consideration for the promise.

Compliance with a legal obligation imposed by a contract with the promisor can be no consideration for a promise. The better-known illustration is the old English case of Stilk v. Meyrick [(1809) 2 Camp 317: 170 ER 1168]

In this case, while a ship was on a voyage, two of the seamen deserted; and the captain, having in vain attempted to supply their places, entered into an agreement with the rest of the crew that if they work the ship home, they should have the wages of the two who had deserted equally divided among them.

Lord Ellenborough C.J. held that the agreement was void for want of consideration in as much as it was the contractual duty of the mariners who remained with the ship to exert themselves utmost in any emergency of the voyage to bring the ship in safety to her destined port and the desertion of a part of the crew was definitely an emergency of the voyage.

But where, in another case of Liston v. Owners Carpathian, [(1915) 2 KB42], sailors refused to complete a voyage because of war risks, not originally contemplated, but remained on duty on the promise of extra pay, they were allowed to recover it. The principle would seem to be that “where conditions have arisen under which a party is entitled to refuse to go ahead with his contract, a promise to pay him extra if he will not do so is valid”.

Also in, Hartley v. Ponsonby, [(1857) 119 ER 1471], where the number of deserters was so great that only a few hands were left and, therefore, the captain’s promise to pay them extra was held enforceable.

Thus, in the present case at hand, when two seamen deserted a ship and the remaining seamen agreed to take the ship to the port in return for extra wages, it was the pre-existing duty of the seamen to take the ship to the port, hence any agreement entered in addition to this to complete their existing duty would be void for want of consideration. Hence, when the ship safely reaches the port, the seamen are not legally entitled to extra wages as agreed.


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 18 Feb 2022 3:33 AM GMT
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