Q. A patient in a lunatic asylum is at intervals of sound mind. During the intervals can he contract? Explain.

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Yes, he can.

Sec 11 of Indian Contract Act (here and after ICA), 1872, deals with the capacity to entering into a contract. It sets out a condition that only a sound minded person is entitled to make a contract, provided he fulfilled all the other requirements too.

Sec 12 of ICA states that A person is said to be of sound mind for the purpose of making a contract, if, at the time when he makes it, he is capable of understanding it and of forming a rational judgment as to its effects upon his interest.

Therefore, according to this section, the person entering into the contract must be a person who understands what he is doing and is able to form a rational judgement as to whether what he is about to do is to his interest or not.

In the simple and precise manner, it can be concluded that a person who is usually of unsound mind, but occasionally of sound mind, may make a contract when he is of sound mind. But A person who is usually of sound mind, but occasionally of unsound mind, is not eligible to make a contract when he is of unsound mind.


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Some illustrations:

(a)  X, who is, at intervals, of sound mind, may contract during those intervals.

(b)  A sane man, who is delirious from fever, or who is so drunk that he cannot understand the terms of a contract, or form a rational judgment as to its effect on his interests, cannot contract whilst such delirium or drunkenness lasts.


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