Plea of “undue influence” and “onus-probandi”
By Y.SRINIVASA RAO, Prl. Senior Civil Judge, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
While considering the aspect of plea of undue influence and onus-probandi, in Subhas Chandr Das Musib v. Ganga Prasad Das Mudib and Other,AIR 1967 SC 878, it was held as under:-
“4. Under Section 16 (1) of the Indian Contract Act a contract is said to be induced by undue influence where the relations subsisting between the parties are such that one of the parties is in a position to dominate the will of the other and uses that position to obtain an unfair advantage over the other. This shows that the court trying a case of undue influence must consider two things to start with, namely, (1) are the relations between the donor and the donee such that the donee is in a position to dominate the will of the donor and (2) has the donee used that position to obtain an unfair advantage over the donor?
The three stages for consideration of a case of undue influence were expounded in the case of Rahunath Prasad v. Sanju Prasad and Others, (AIR 1924 PC 60) in the following words:
“In the first place the relations between the parties to each other must be such that one is in a position to dominate the will of the other. Once that position is substantiated the second stage has been reached — namely, the issue whether the contract has been induced by undue influence. Upon the determination of this issue a third point emerges, which is that of the onus probandi. If the transaction appears to be unconscionable, then the burden of proving that the contract was not induced by undue influence is to lie upon the person who was in a position to dominate the will of the other. Error is almost sure to arise if the order of these propositions be changed. The unconscionableness of the bargain is not the first thing to be considered. The first thing to be considered is the relations of these parties. Were they such as to put one in a position to dominate the will of the other?”
28. In the light of the above principles, considering the case in hand, no sufficient pleading in the plaint as to undue influence.See: Jamila Begum (D) Thr. Lrs. vs Shami Mohd. on 14 December, 2018