Legal IQ

Quick Referencer for Judicial Service

Anticipatory Breach of Contract

Q. ‘A’ a singer, enters into a contract with ‘B’, the manager of a theatre, to sing at his theatre two nights in every week during the next two months, and ‘B’ engages to pay her 10,000 rupees for each night’s performance. On the sixth night ‘A’ wilfully absents herself from the theatre. Can ‘B’ put an end to the contract? Give reasons and also mention relevant provisions.
A.P. Judicial Service Exam. 1988
State Bank Law Officer Exam. 1997 (Based on memory).
U.P. Civil Services (Main) Exam. 1994 (Similar Problem).

Ans: Yes, ‘B’ can put an end to the contract—Section 39 (Effect of refusal of party to perform promise wholly).
Reasons: The relevant part of Section 39 on which this problem is based provides that when a party to a contract has refused to perform, or disabled himself from performing his promise in its entirety, the promisee may put end to the contract.

In the given problem ‘A’ wilfully absents herself from the theatre and does not sing on sixth night. In this manner she (‘A’) either refused or disabled herself from performing her promise. Thus, ‘B’ (promisee) can put an end to the contract in view of the provision made in Section 39 of Indian Contract Act.

Note: (1) See Illustration (a) attached to Section 39.
(2) Anticipatory breach of contract takes place when a party to the contract repudiates his liability under the contract before the time for performance is due or when a party by his own act disables himself from performing the contract.

Source: Kishor Prasad

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