Analysing the Lopsided Delegation of Duties and Responsibilities in the Contracts Act
Volume II – Issue II, 2020
The paper attempts to address the lopsided delegation of responsibilities and accountability ascribed to the Agent, vis-a-vis the Principal, by assessing and critiquing some of the relevant provisions of the Indian Contract Act, such as Section 222 to 225. It is argued that that the dilution of responsibility and myriad of protections provided exclusively to the Principal, exposes the Agent to facing multiplicity of law suits, being tricked out of the employment contracts and remunerations due and endows the Principal with ungirded power to exploit his position. In order to analyze such a discriminatory balance of power in the relationship of Agency, the paper has briefly discussed the jurisprudential understanding of the stated provisions and the doctrine of Agency in the Contracts Act. Followed by this, various provision of the Contracts Act has been assessed with a detailed discussion on the case laws from both Indian and Foreign jurisdictions. Doctrinal discussions such as on the ‘Doctrine of good faith’, tortious liability, Respondent Superior etc. have been undertaken to present the lacunae in the current provisions within the Contract Act. The paper has also tried to study and compare the ‘law on Agency’ in America and certain areas of the European Union to the Indian law and argued for the inculcation of certain interpretations, provisions and principles from these foreign jurisdictions within Indian law to increase the protections afforded to the Agent against the Principal. Arguments have been presented in the paper to draw the attention of the judiciary to this issue in order to commence deliberation on such lopsided legislation. Finally, the paper attempts to provide with alternative methods and additional methods, by relying on foreign jurisdictions to create a fair and comprehensive doctrine of Agency in India.