A minor, being incapable to make an agreement or contract, cannot be a partner in the firm. However, he may be admitted only to the benefits of the firm with the consent of all other partners. “A person can become a partner only by an act of consent: i) on the part of himself; ii) on the part of all the other partners. A minor is incapable of giving consent so he or she cannot become a partner but with the consent of all others he or she can only be admitted to the benefits of the partnership. Since the minor who has been admitted to the benefits of the partnership does not mean he is a partner, he cannot determine or dissolve the partnership by himself by issuing a written notice.”
:- There are this doctrine which help us to understand this more clearly:-
- Doctrine of Estoppels:-There is no estoppels against the minor. It means when a minor fraudulently enters into a contract, representing that he is a major, but in reality he is not, then later on he/she can plead his/her minority as a defence and cannot be stopped from doing so. In case of Nawab Sadiq Ali Khan v. Jai Kishori, it was held by Privy Council that if a minor makes a contract by fraudulently expressing his age more than actual then he cannot be stopped as per the rules of estoppels that he was minor at the time of contract. In the case of Vaikuntarama Pillai v. Authimoolam Chettiar, there is a clear statutory provisions that a minor being incompetent to contract is incapable of incurring any liability for any debt, the law of estoppels cannot over rule this provision to make him liable was observed by Madras High Court.” In the other words money was obtained by a minor misrepresenting his age, that amounted to a fraud and he might be made to refund it, but, in the absence of fraud, refund could not be ordered.
- Doctrine of Restitution:- In the case of Leslie v. Sheill, it was held by the Court of Appeal that the money could not be recovered. If there were allowed that would amount to enforcing the agreement to repay loan, which is void under Infants Relief Act, 1874. As regards to the point of restoring back the property is concerned, Lord Summer referred and made observation in the case of Stocks v. Wilson. England restitution is restoring back the property by a fraudulent minor is permitted, if the property can be trace. Now, it is a question which arises how far a minor can be required to restore back the benefit wrongly obtained by him or her under a void agreement where a minor is asked to pay compensation to the other party is dealt under the side heading Compensation by a Minor in India.
It is general assumption that mental faculties of a minors are in nascent state. “Minor is not mature enough to understand what is good and what its implications on his/her interest are. In the light of it, law protects a minor, so that any person by making an agreement with him/her cannot take advantage of his/her minority. Minority in India is a fact but not privilege as in England. Law always protects a minor. A person who has not completed his or her 18 years of age is known as a minor. There is no specific age limits to define a minor age. Different legislations in India explain minor with different age group because of cultural, economic, political structure of India. There are no estoppels against a minor and no subsequent ratification of a minor’s agreement. A minor cannot be bound by contract but he can be a lawful beneficiary. A minor can be admitted to the benefits of partnership. A Minor can act as an agent. A minor cannot be member of a registered company. A contract for the marriage of a minor is for his or her benefit. However, only the minor can get such a contract enforced. In general contract cannot be enforced against the minor unless it comes under special circumstances. There should be always mutuality or consensus of mind in the contract with a minor. Contracts entered into on behalf of a minor, by his guardian or by a manager of his estate. In such a case the same can specifically enforced by or against the minor if the contract is one which it is within the competence of the guardian, to enter into on his behalf so as to bind him by it, and further if it is for the benefit of the minor. If either of these conditions is wanting, the contract cannot be specifically enforced at all.