Present:, Wood Renton J.
RAMEN CHETTY v. SILVA132—C. R. Colombo, 26,251
Minor—Contracts to the benefit of minor—Ratification.
The Roman-Dutchlaw of ratification ofcontractsby a minor is
in forcein Ceylon. Contracts which are neithercertainly to a
minor’s prejudice nor • necessarily tor his benefit are neither voidnor absolutely valid, but are voidable and capable of confirmationafter majority.
Obiter,where ' aminor borrows moneyexclusivelyfor his father's
use, thefact thatthe minor was livingwith hisfather, and that
the money was to be applied to get his father employment, whichwould add to bis ability to maintain the minor, would not besufficient to make the contract a beneficial one .to the minor withinthe meaning of the common law.
fJIHE facts are set out in the judgment.
H. A. Jayewardene (with him Cooray), for the defendant,appellant.—The defendant was a minor at the time he signed thenote. The contract was one which was not for the minor’s 'benefit.The evidence shows that the money was borrowed for the exclusivebenefit of the father of the minor. The.minor cannot, therefore,be sued on the note. Vellasamy Pulle v. Penes et al.1
A contract by a minor cannot under our law be rendered valid byratification. The Roman-Dutch law as to ratification of contractsentered by minors does not appear to have been introduced intoCeylon. In Gwnasekera Hamine v. Don Baron2, it was held that adonation cannot be ratified by a minor when he comes of age.
W. H. Perera, for the plaintiff, respondent.—The minor paidRs. 25 after he attained majority. Under the Roman-Dutch lawthat would amount to ratification. (3 Maas. 17; 1 Maas. 247.)The Roman-Dutch law on the subject is in force in Ceylon.
In Gunasekera Hamine v. Don Baron2 the donation was a donationof land by a minor; it was held that such a donation was void, andBot voidable. See judgment of Bonser C.J.
Cur. adv. vult.
May 31, 1912. Wood ReKtok J.—
The plaintiff-respondent sued the defendant-appellant in this■ action to recover a sum of Rs. 200 on a promissory note. The
‘ U906) 3 flu!. 3.
2 (1902) 5 N. L. R. 273.
( 287 )
appellant pleaded that he was a minor at the time of the makingof the note. There was no replication by the respondent, but theissues raised two further points, namely, whether, assuming theminority at the time of making the note, the note was invalid, andwhether the appellant had not ratified the obligation by a subsequentpayment of Hs. 25 upon the note. The learned Commissioner ofBequests held that minority had been proved; that the loan wasbeneficial to the appellant, and that, therefore, the note was notinvalid; and further, that the appellant had ratified it after majorityby the subsequent payment above referred to. There is no appealin this case upon the facts. I am doubtful whether, upon thefindings of the learned Commissioner of Bequests, the loan inrespect of which the note was granted could be said to have beenfor the minor’s benefit. The Commissioner of Bequests acceptsthe statement of the appellant that he borrowed the money exclu-sively for his father’s use. If that were so, I do not think that themere fact that the minor was living with his father, and that themoney was to be applied to get his father employment, which wouldadd to his ability to maintain the minor, would be sufficient tomake the contract a beneficial one within the meaning of thecommon law. It is unnecessary, however, to decide this point, asthe appellant also states, and this is much more probable, that herequirea the money for himself. The loan was, therefore, beneficialand could be ratified. I think that the decision of the Commissionerof Bequests on the issue of ratification is clearly right. The witness,Bamen Chetty, father-in-law of Sollamuttu Chetty, the payee onthe note, now deceased, proved a payment and a promise of afurther payment by the appellant subsequent to his becoming amajor, and gave evidence also of a similar payment and promiseby the appellant to the deceased payee. The proof of the latterpayment and promise consisted of statements made by the payeeto his father-in-law, Bamen Chetty. Mr. Hector Jayewardene,the appellant’s counsel, argued that evidence of these statementswas not admissible even under section 32 (2) of the EvidenceOrdinance, inasmuch as there was nothing to show that they were,made “ in the ordinary course of business. ” The evidence in therecord proves, however, that Sollamuttu Chetty, the deceasedpayee, had been in the habit of consulting his father-in-law, BamenChetty, in business matters; that he sent for him .to go to Indiawhere he was lying ill, for the express purpose of entrusting himwith the collection of the appellant’s debt and of. other debts also;and that Bamen Chetty was attending to his business while he wasill. Under these circumstances, I think that the. statements madeby Sollamuttu Chetty to Bamen Chetty may fairly be said to havebeen made in the ordinary course of business.
Mr. Hector Jayewardene also argued that the Boman-Dutch lawof ratification of contracts by a minor was not in force in Ceylon.
Wo onRenton J.
( 288 )
No direct authority was cited to me, nor am I aware of any, in.support of this proposition, and all that Mr. Jayewardene could saywas that there was no reported case in which that 'doctrine had been,recognized. He referred also to the decision of the Supreme Courtin Qunasekera Hamine v. Don Baron,1 that a donation by a minorunassisted by a guardian cannot be ratified subsequently when theminor comes of age. The ratio decidendi' in that case was that adonation cannot possibly be beneficial to the donor, and Wendt J.in the course of his judgment quotes a passage from Thomson(Institutes, vol. II., p. 214) to the effect that contracts which areneither certainly to a minor’s prejudice nor necessarily for his benefitare neither void nor absolutely valid, but are voidable and capableof confirmation after majority. In this passage Thomson is statingthe law of Ceylon. I see no reason to doubt but that the Roman-Dutch law as to the ratification of a minor’s contracts after majorityis in force in this Colony.
The appeal is dismissed with costs.
(190«) 4 V L. ft m.
RAMEN CHETTY v. SILVA