Doctrine of Blue Pencil
According to Oxford Dictionary of English, Blue Pencil means to censor or to make cuts in a manuscript, film or other work. Blue Pencil was earlier used by the editors to make corrections in the copy. According to Black’s Law Dictionary the Doctrine of Blue Pencil is a judicial standard for deciding whether to invalidate the whole contract or only the offending words. Under this standard, only the offending words are invalidated if it would be possible to delete them simply by running a blue pencil through them as opposed to changing, adding or rearranging words. The Blue Pencil rule allows the courts only to strike down the offending provisions and enforce the rest of the agreement. The general rule of law of contracts is that the illegal parts of a contract are illegal and hence unenforceable.
Doctrine of Frustration
Section 56 of Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines impossibility of contract.
“It provides that the performance of a contract may be possible when the contract is entered into but because of some supervening event, the performance may subsequently become impossible or unlawful.“ (Therefore, also called as doctrine of supervening impossibility)
The essential idea of this doctrine is based on the impossibility of performance of the contract. The changed circumstances (supervening event) make the performance of contract impossible and parties are absolved from the further performance of it as they did not promise to perform the impossibility.
Specific grounds for Frustration
1. Destruction of Subject-matter: It was clarified in the landmark TAYLOR Vs CALDWELL case, where the contract was entered into for the use of the musical hall for concert purpose, but before the day of the concert, the hall was destroyed by fire, held that performance becomes impossible.
2. Change in Circumstances: Such change makes performance impossible or tough in the manner and the time contemplated.
Illustration: A and B contract to marry each other. Before the date of marriage, A goes mad. The contract becomes void.
3. The Death of Incapacity of the Party: When the nature of the contract demands personal performance of the promisor, his death of incapacity puts an end to the contract.
Illustration: A entered into a contract with M.F. Hussain where Hussain has to paint. However, he dies before the date of such painting. The contract becomes frustrated.
4. Government Legislation: When the government passes an act or law, and the object of the contract goes against the law.
Illustration: A contracts to open a liquor shop in Patna, Bihar. Subsequently, Nitish enacts a law which bans alcohol. The contract becomes void.
By – Shradha Arora
(Editor @ Legal Bites)