A contract to be performed should be in a definite and specific time and a place. This is done to attract the legal objectives of a contract. Parties contracting under this agreement need to perform according to the set time and place in order to remain valid under the Indian Contract Act.
Further knowledge is needed to be acquired in this subject matter of discussion.
As known a promisor and a promisee are the two essentials to a contract, and equally important is the time and place where the contract is to be performed. Given a time and place of the contract to be performed are already agreed upon, then the promisor is liable to perform the promise accordingly. If not, then he should perform the same at a reasonable place and time. The Indian Contract Act, 1872, specifies some rules regarding this time and place for the performance of the contract under the sections between 46 – 50.
A contract where the promisor has to perform his promise without any application by the promisee and there is no predetermined time specified for the performance of the same. In such a circumstance, the promisor should perform the contract at a reasonable time. Here the term ‘reasonable’ is interpreted differently. The section specifies that the circumstances of every case will be analysed for the definition of ‘reasonable time’ for the parties involved.
Example: Mona promises to pay Miller Rs 5,000 in cash at his house, within six months, as a repayment of the loan he had taken from Miller. Mona leaves for work at six in the morning which is when Miller returns home from his night shift job. As per the circumstances, the only time when Mona and Miller can meet is at six in the morning. Hence, the time for the performance of the contract is 6 a.m. and the place is at Miller’s house.
Further, if there is a contract where the promisee is not mandated to make an application but the promisor needs to perform the contract only on a Sunday, then the promisor will have to perform such promise during regular business hours, provided the time is specified in the contract too.
Example: Pam promises to deliver certain goods to Jim on payment of an advance of Rs 5,000. Jim makes the payment and asks Pam to deliver the goods on a Sunday. Since the time is not specified, Pam should deliver it between 9 am and 6 pm, the assumption that those are the regular business hours in the place where they reside.
If Pam attempts delivery after the business hours, then Jim has the right to not accept the goods and ask Pam to deliver again during the usual business hours.
When there is a contract where the promisee is required to make an application for the performance of a contract, then the promisee needs to ensure that the application is made by him at a proper place and time. In this case, the phrase ‘proper place and time’ will hold wide meanings in different situations.
Like in the example of Pam and Jim, they both enter a contract where Pam promises to fix Jim’s car whenever he asks him to. Pam also takes an advance payment for the same. When Jim asks Pam to fix his car, he needs to ensure that he doesn’t ask Pam to go a lot out of his way. Also, he must preferably ask for repairs during the business hours.
A contract where the promisee is not necessitated to make an application for the performance of the contract. Also, the place of performance is not specified. In this scenario, the total responsibility of the promisor to apply to the promisee asking him to appoint a reasonable place for the performance of such promise.
Example: Rik promises to deliver 5 audio sets to Mark. On an already fixed day and time. However, the contract does not mention the address for the performance. It is Rik’s responsibility to apply to Mark and ask him to appoint a reasonable place where he can safely accept the delivery of the ordered goods.
There is also a chance for a contract to take place, where the promisor agrees to perform the promise in a manner already mentioned and at a place and time prescribed by the promisee.
Q1. Pit owes Rs 5,000 to Jack. According to the agreement between them, Jack doesn’t need to make an application for Pit to repay the loan. Also, there is no mention of either time or place. Further, Pit has agreed to repay the money in a manner and at a place and time prescribed by Jack.
One day Jack visits Pit’s house and takes a liking for a new painting made by Pit. He asks Pit to give him the painting in lieu of the loan. Pit obliges and does the necessary paperwork. Has Pit repaid his loan?
Ans: According to Section 50 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, Pit has performed his promise in a manner and at a place and time prescribed by the promisee, Jack.
Jack asked for the painting as a repayment of the loan. Here he exercised his right to devise the manner of the performance of the promise. Since Pit obliged, he had legally fulfilled the contract and was no longer liable to pay any further money to Jack.
Attaching time and place is essential for a valid contract and hence this is to be borne in the mind of the contracting parties.
1. What is meant by the Performance of a Contract?
Ans. ‘Performance’ in legal language means the act of doing what is required by a contract. The effect of a successful performance is to discharge the person bound to do the same act from any future liability.
2. What is the possibility of Performance?
Ans. Possibility of performance means the contract should be possible to complete as legally binding contracts are not possible to be undertaken to perform an impossible act.
3. Who can demand the Performance of a Contract?
Ans. Only the promise can demand the performance of the contract.