We are all aware that agreement takes the shape of contract when enforced by law and for a contract to be valid all essentials of the contract such as parties to contract, its object needs to be lawful all the parties to the contract must be competent to contract, etc needs to be in track. When any of the essentials mentioned in section 10 of Indian contract act 1872 are not fulfilled but still they are enforceable by law then this type of contract is termed as pseudo or quasi contract. Quantum Meruit is a synonym for quasi contract. Section 68 to 72 covers all the points of quasi-contract. It is a type of indemnity contract where a party at loss will be reimbursed by the party who had unknowingly enjoyed else’s property (parcel, money, etc)
Principle of Quasi Contract
Quasi Contract is based on the principle Nemo debet locupletari ex aliena jactura which means no person should grow rich out of other person loss. In other words the above principle states that damage ought to be recovered from the person enjoying the property of other and also that this type if contract is based on the principle of equity, justice and good conscience.
B (a delivery boy from big basket) delivered the parcel to A instead of parcelling it to C. A thinks his mom might have ordered something for him and he without confirming keeps the parcel with him and enjoys it. In such a case court gives 2 options 1 give the parcel to the original owner or 2.Repay him the amount paid by C for the parcel. Chapter V-Quasi Contract-Section 68 to Section 72, Indian Contract Act, 1872
A. Section 68: Claim for necessaries supplied to a person incapable of contracting or on his behalf.
This section in general means that one person taking care of an incapable person (minor, disabled physically or mentally and their dependents he has the right to claim form the property of the incapacitated person. He will be given only the amount which he had spent on behalf of the other person and not more than that.
B. Section69: Reimbursement of person paying money due by another, in payment of which he is interested)
Let’s understand this section with the help of an example
Suppose A and B have gone for shopping and A pays on behalf of B then it is B’s duty who in the eyes of law has to pay in reality reimburse the same amount to A.
C. Section 70: Obligation of person enjoying the benefit of the non-gratuitous act
Let’s understand this through an illustration
Suppose, a librarian A gave a book to a student named Z and told him that this book is to be returned within a week and Z fails to do so then it is Z’s liability to pay for the book which he had used over the due date.
D. Section 71:Responsibility of Finder of Goods
This section basically deals with the recovered property which was either lost or stolen. For instance: A while keeping his a wallet in the pocket dropped it being under the impression that he had kept it in his pocket. Luckily T finds it and takes it with him the same day asks every person around his vicinity about the wallet and gets to know that it belonged to A and returns it.
Duties of Finder
- To take good care of the property
- Not to use or mix the property with its own property
- Make efforts to find the person in charge of the lost good.
Rights of the finder
- Right to lien- compensation to be given by the owner of the property to the finder for keeping it safe and finding it.
- Right to Sue- if any sort of reward is announced on the lost good by the owner and finder does not get the reward even after finding it then the owner is liable to give the award announced on the good lost.
Right to sell- the finder of the property has the right to sell the property under some circumstances: owner of the property not found even after taking reasonable efforts, owner refuses to reward the finder and the good is in perishable conditions.
E. Section 72 (Liability of person to whom money is paid or thing delivered by mistake or under coercion)
This means returning the amount paid twice for a certain thing Illustration: A and B both lived as PG in a house where C was the owner. B before the due date handed over the rent to C later that day unknowingly A also gave the
rent of the house to C. Now in this case C shall return the amount paid by any 1 out of two.
Case laws: Pincher v. Colburn
Fact: A the plaintiff an author of dramatic entertainment and was approached by B the defendants who were publishers of “The Juvenile Library” that dealt with armor and costumes of historical times. A completed the work assigned to him and demanded 50 guineas out of 100 for the completion of drawings of some part of the manuscript but defendant did not pay him for his work Judgment: Due to the principle of quantum meruit A was entitled to claim 50 guineas.
In reality quasi contract is not a contract but an invented contract which poses certain obligation on the party not a part of the contract to pay/reimburse or give away the property enjoyed by him to the party who has suffered loss and was a part of that contract in the eyes of law.