Ab Initio

Ab Initio

Literal Meaning

From the beginning.


If a court declares something as a case of ab initio, it means that the court’s ruling on it applies from when an act occurred or when the circumstances for the case in question were in effect, rather than from the point of time when the court actually ruled on the matter. The term ab initio can be used in a lot of circumstances. Such as an agreement, a law, a deed etc. can be void ab initio, which means void from the very beginning. If something is said to be void ab initio, the thing was never created or void to begin with. The term void ab initio is often used in contracts, property and marriages.




A sheriff enters in a property of ‘A’ under a court order’s authority that empowers him to seize an expensive painting but he also takes a valuable marble sculpture, he is said to be trespasser ab inito. He abused the court’s authority.

Case References

Mohiri Bibi v. Dharmodas Ghosh, (1903) 30 Cal. 539,  (1903) 30 I.A. 114 (P.C.)

In this case in 1903 for the first time Privy Council court held that a minor’s contract is void ab initio that it is void from the beginning.

Keshavan Madhava Menon v. State of Bombay, AIR 1951 SC 128

The Supreme Court held that Article 13(1) of Indian constitution could not apply to that case as the offence was committed before the commencement of the constitution and, therefore, the proceedings against the petitioner instituted in 1949, were not affected. The court observed that transactions which were past and closed and rights which had already vested under the existing laws would remain untouched on the commencement of the constitution, though the laws might become void under Article 13(1) of the constitution. The court explained that Article 13(1) did not in terms make the existing laws which were inconsistent with the fundamental rights void ab initio or for all purposes.

Saghir Ahmed v. State of U.P., AIR 1954 SC 728

The U.P. Road Transport Service Act, 1951, was held to be void ab initio. The impugned Act empowered the State Government to run and operate the Road Transport Services exclusively itself or in conjunction with railway. The Act was challenged inter alia on the ground that it infringed the fundamental rights of the petitioners to carry on the business of transport service as guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g) and hence void under article 13(2) of Indian Constitution.

Edited by Sree Ramya

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje 

Shivani Rani
I am Shivani Rani from Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University,Aligarh pursuing BALLB(Hons.). Criminal law and personal laws of country attracts me the most. I like to read books mostly based on fictin and also like to watch suspense & thriller movies as well as crime thriller web series, in free time. I love to take part in moot court competitions as well as research study work. I am enthusiastic about exploring new places and listening music. I am kind of ambivert person i.e., not so introvert and not so extrovert.