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Validity of a Contract

By Karmayogi

A contract is valid when each party binds himself to a performance. Obviously the performance must be proportionate, not a mere token. Usage often neutralises the protection of the law. The private limited company was conceived more than three hundred years ago to protect the investor from the adventures of the company he invested in. A private limited company borrowing money in India today does not have that protection. The lender insists on the owner of the company offering personal security. There is no law prohibiting the lender from demanding the personal security.

Buyers of a property give an advance and sign a contract to buy the property for a certain value within a certain time, failing which he forfeits his advance. This is the known practice. The market is fanciful. It can change in any fashion at any time. There is no protection to the buyer, in changed conditions, from a refractory seller, if he chooses not to sell. To make a contract legally valid and practically viable, the seller too must give a commensurate commitment.

A buyer offered to buy a property for a price higher than the seller advertised but for which he had not got any offers. It was a knotty transaction, as personal animosities found play. The buyer entered into a contract with the seller through another industrialist who was well versed in such transactions and had purchased several properties through his lawyer. In this case, the buyer desired a counter clause, as he was aware that ticklish situations might arise. At the time of actual purchase, the seller might refuse to sell or might demand an astronomical sum when he came to know the real buyer. The industrialist, in spite of his vast experience, was shy. He did not want not to demand a counter clause, but on the buyers insistence, it was added.

The expected eruption took place, but the seller discovered the value of reasonable behaviour when reminded of the counter clause. The shy industrialist started introducing such a counter clause in all his subsequent transactions! To make spiritual progress, it is often urged to look at the issue from another mans point of view. This is done to make us less unreasonable. In this case, we see looking at the issue from anothers point of view prevented him from being unreasonable. The Spirit demands we should be fair and just. Following the inspirations of the Spirit, we protect ourselves from the onslaught of the unreasonableness and unfairness of others.
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