Ad Infinitum – Legal Maxim

Literal Meaning

Forever, without limit, to infinity

Explanation

Ad infinitum in legal context is referred as continue forever without any limit. It is generally used to describe a non-terminating process or a process which does not have amounts to a resultant end. It can also be used for a set of instructions which needs to be continued forever or to be stopped for an indefinite period of time. In general it denotes any mode of action which continues for a long period of time without having any definite end to it. There are many orders of court which are to be followed by the partied for indefinite amount of time and thus to describe such orders ad infinitum is used. Moreover it is used to explain or describe situations which continue for an unnecessarily lengthy period of time.

Origin

Ad infinitum is a Latin phrase which translates to “to infinity” or “forevermore”. To describe any course of action which is infinite in nature the maxim ad infinitum is used.   

Illustration

If two parties enter into a contract which is a non-terminating one then it is said to be an ad infinitum contract. Ex contracts in perpetuity 

Case Reference

In the case of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon v. State of Maharashtra and Anr[1] the question that emerged was that whether on  the  ground of not granting of 14 days’ time from the date of receipt  of  communication of rejection of the mercy petition, should the warrant which is going to  be executed should be stayed or not  Mr. Mukul  Rohatgi,  learned Attorney General for India, appearing for the respondent, would submit  that the mercy petition is considered by the President of India  in  exercise  of his power under Article 72 of the Constitution of  India  and  when  he  has rejected the mercy petition after due  consideration  of  all  the  relevant facts on earlier occasion, if such kind of repetitive  mercy  petitions  are allowed to be submitted and further challenge to the rejection of  the  same is permitted, the danger of the concept of ad  infinitum  would  enter  into the field. 

Also in the case of Reema v. Sumer Singh Salkan[2] the court observed that the process of maintenance is to support but not enrich the person getting the maintenance. Payments of the maintenance cannot continue ad ­infinitum.

In the case of Dr. Sharique Ali and others v State of Madhya Pradesh and others[3] the scope of Grant-in-aid  and Right to education was discussed and it was observed that the grant-in-aid is an assistance for some time to the educational institutions to meet their need and it is their obligation to be self-sufficient as the concept of grant-in-aid cannot be a contribution in perpetuity or ad infinitum.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


Reference:

[1] Yakub Abdul Razak Memon v. State of Maharashtra and Anr., (2015) 9 SCC 552

[2] Reema v. Sumer Singh Salkan. 2018 Indlaw SC 870

[3] Dr. Sharique Ali and others v. State of Madhya Pradesh and others, 2002(1) M.P.H.T. 315

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I am Kousini Gupta, final year BBA.LLB. student from Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad. The topics in Constitutional, Intellectual Property, Entertainment and Media Law excite me in particular and bring out the best in me. I have interned at District Court, High Court and several reputed law firms. The experience of these internships was highly valuable and enriching. My research and publications have been accepted in reputed national journals. Besides, I also enjoy mooting and have several participation certificates to my credit. In my free time, I like to be creative with paintings and dance to my favourite tunes.