While considering the aspect of plea of undue
influence and onus probandi, in Subhas
Chandr Das Mushib v. Ganga Prasad Das
Mushib, AIR 1967 SC 878, it was held as under:
Section 16(1) of the Contract Act a contract is said to be induced by undue
influence where the relations subsisting between the parties are such that none
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?
three stages for consideration of a case of undue influence were expounded in Raghunath Prasad Sahu v. Sarju Prasad Sahu, 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, viz., 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 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.
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? Jamila Beguma v. Shami Mohd., (2019) 2 SCC 727.
In Bhaurao Dagdu Paralkar v. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 7 SCC 605, it was held as under:
“By fraud is meant an intention to deceive; whether it is from any expectation of advantage to the party himself or from ill will towards the other is immaterial. The expression “fraud” involves two elements, deceit and injury to the person deceived. Injury is something other than economic loss, that is, deprivation of property, whether movable or immovable, or of money and it will include any harm whatever caused to any person in body, mind, reputation or such others. In short, it is a non-economic or non-pecuniary loss. A benefit or advantage to the deceiver, will almost always cause loss or detriment to the deceived. Even in those rare cases where there is a benefit or advantage to the deceiver, but no corresponding loss to the deceived, the second condition is satisfied.
A fraud is an act of deliberate deception with the design of securing something by taking unfair advantage of another. It is a deception in order to gain by another’s loss. It is a cheating intended to get an advantage.
Fraud, as is well known, vitiates every solemn act. Fraud and justice never dwell together. Fraud is a conduct either by letter or words, which induces the other person or authority to take a definite determinative stand as a response to the conduct of the former, either by words or letters. It is also well settled that misrepresentation itself amounts to fraud. A fraudulent misrepresentation is called deceit and consists in leading a man into damage by willfully or recklessly causing him to believe and act on falsehood. It is a fraud in law if a party makes representations, which he knows to be false, and injury ensues therefrom although the motive from which the misrepresentations proceeded may not have been bad. An act of fraud on court is always viewed seriously. A collusion or conspiracy with a view to deprive the rights of others in relation to a property would render the transaction void ab initio. Fraud and deception are synonymous. Although in a given case a deception may not amount to fraud, fraud is anathema to all equitable principles and any affair tainted with fraud cannot be perpetuated or saved by the application of any equitable doctrine including res judicata. DDA v. Bankmens Cooperative Group Housing Society Limited. (2017) 7 SCC 636.