“It would be a very improper thing to allow the guardian to make covenants in the name of his ward so as to impose a personal liability upon the ward”.
No personal liability can be imposed upon the ward, that is, even after attaining majority he cannot be arrested and put in civil prison for the liability. But can his estate at least be made liable? If the personal covenant (example, a simple money debt) of the guardian is justified by the doctrine of necessity or benefit to the estate, the minor’s estate may be made liable.
Thus, in Watson & Co. v. Sham Lai Mittar, 15 Cal. 8 (PC), the Privy Council held an arrangement entered into by the guardian for enhancement of rent payable by the minor tenant for his leasehold and gave effect to the Kabuliyat for enhanced rents as one binding on the estate of the minor.
In regard to contracts of the guardian, as in regard to his alienations, the true test of the binding character of the guardian’s transaction is the existence of necessity or benefit, i.e., the test laid down in Hanuman Prasad’s case. This is pointed out by the Madras High Court in Annamalai v. Muthuswami, ILR 1939 Mad. 891.
In that case the natural guardian of a Hindu minor contracted a simple money debt for necessary purposes of the minor. It was held that the debt was enforceable against the minor’s estate. Krishnaswami Ayyangar, J., pointed out that this is not a personal liability in the English Law sense, i.e., “in the sense that the person of the minor even after majority can be arrested in execution. A personal liability arising out of the contract of the guardian is a liability of the minor’s estate only”.
(2) Covenants in Relation to Immovable Property:
The covenants of the guardian which relate to land, such as agreements for sale, are governed by the rule in Hanuman Prasad’s case.