Definition: Void Agreements refers to those agreements which are legally unenforceable. So, it does not amount to any rights or obligation as per law.
These do not have any legal effect and so they cannot be enforced under the court of law, as well as it does not give any rights to the immediate parties.
Agreements Expressly Declared Void
There are certain agreements which are expressly declared void under the court of law, which are discussed as under:
- Entering into an agreement with incompetent persons, i.e. who is minor i.e. below 18 years of age is considered void, or persons of unsound mind or disqualified persons such as an alien enemy, foreign sovereign and ambassadors, convicts, insolvents, etc.
- Any agreement whose object or consideration is not lawful is regarded as void ab initio.For instance: Suppose Monica agrees to buy machinery from Somya, although Monica knows that Somya had already agreed to sell that machinery to Jeniffer. The contract is void as the only intention of Monica is to cause injury to the machinery of Jeniffer.
- When the agreement made between the parties are under a bilateral mistake of fact which is regarded as relevant to the agreement.For instance: Suppose Fredrick agrees to sell his car for ₹ 5 lakhs to Vicky. If Fredrick has two cars, one is purchased last year and the other one 5 years back. Now Vicky is in a mistake that Fredrick is selling his new car while Fredrick agreed to sell his old car. In such a case the agreement is void.
- Any agreement without any consideration is also void from the time it is created.
- When there is an agreement between parties in restraint of marriage of any person, except minor.For instance: Robin agrees to marry Steffy and no other girl on the condition that Steffy’s father transfers ₹ 2 crores to Robin. Such promises are not binding in nature and these are void ab-initio.
- If there is an agreement which restrains any person from exercising a legal profession or trade, is regarded as void from the very beginning.For instance: Daniel, a cafe owner, in the market area agrees to pay ₹ 20 lakhs to Ron, his business competitor, if he closes the business in that particular area, the agreement is void.
- Any agreement between parties in restraint of legal proceedings, i.e. if any party in the agreement is restricted to legally enforce his/her rights, through legal proceedings or restricts the time for the legal enforcement of rights is considered as void.Moreover, any such agreement which ceases the rights of either party to the agreement or releases either party from any obligation, concerning any contract, on the completion of the respective period, in order to restrict any party from enforcing the rights, is regarded as void.
- If there is an agreement between parties whose meaning is not certain or which cannot be made certain, is also held as void.For instance: Joe agrees to sell 10 kg lentils to Ben for ₹ 2000. Here, it is not specified what variety of lentils is Joe is intending to sell. As there is no certainty, the agreement becomes void. It would be valid if Joe deals in only one variety of lentils.
- Wagering agreements are considered void.For instance: Alex agrees to give a sum of ₹ 10000 in case if the teacher announces that there will be no class today, to Mary, and Mary promises to pay the equal amount if it does not happen. Such agreements are termed as wagering agreement, which is considered as void.
- An agreement between the parties to enter into an agreement in the upcoming time.
- Agreements which are against public policy, such as trading with the enemy, stifling prosecution, maintenance and champerty, marriage brokerage contract, interest against obligation, sale of public offices, agreement for the creation of monopolies, etc.
- An agreement which is contingent on impossible events is also considered as void, i.e. any agreement to perform an impossible act is void. Impossibility at the time when the contract is created or after the formation of the contract, but before it is performed.
A void agreement differs from an illegal agreement in the sense that an illegal agreement refers to an agreement which is prohibited by law, either expressly or impliedly, whereas a void agreement is one, that is not forbidden by law, but due to certain factors which makes it unenforceable as per law, it is considered as void.