Lalman Shukla vs. Gauri Datt

In the Allahabad High Court
Case No.
Civil Revision No. 10 of 1913
Equivalent Citation:
1913 40 ALJ 489
Lalman Shukla
Gauri Datt
Decided on
17th April, 1913
Justice Banerji


Plaintiff was a servant of defendant who was sent to Hardwar for finding the nephew of his master, who has absconded from his house. The servant was able to find the missing child and he was rewarded with two sovereigns and Rs. 20.

Later on after 6 months when he was dismissed from his work he brought a suit against his masters claiming Rs. 499 for the reward offered by plaintiff under the hand bills issued by him.

An appeal is filed against the order of subordinate court in the High Court of Allahabad in order to provide claim of Rs. 49 to the appellant.

Statutes and provisions involved:

  • § 2 (h), and 8 of Indian Contracts Act, 1872

Issues Dealt:

1. Whether the claim of Rs. 499 should be provided to the appellant or not?

2. Whether subordinate court’s decision was according to the general principles of law or not?

Facts of the Case:

In the January, 1913 defendant’s nephew has absconded from his house and in order to find his nephew he sent all his servants to different parts, so that he can be traced at his position. Defendant was among those several servants who were sent for the search of master’s child. He was sent to Hardwar from Cawnpore and there he was able to trace the child and for this accomplishment he was awarded with two sovereigns and Rs. 20 when he returned to Cawnpore. In the meantime when plaintiff was at the search of child defendant issued a hand bill offering reward of Rs. 501 to the person who traces the missing child and defendant was totally ignorant of this reward.

Later on after 6 months of this incident plaintiff brought a suit against his master claiming Rs. 499 stating that the master had promised to the person who will find the missing child a reward. He alleged his master of not providing reward for the specific performance of his promise.

Contentions of both the Parties:


The petitioners strongly contended that performance of an act is sufficient for providing rewards attached with such performance. They stated that it is immaterial that whether person performing the act has knowledge of rewards associated with it or not.

He also argued that § 8 of the Indian Contracts Act, 1872 states that performance of a condition of proposal is an acceptance of proposal and in the present case the condition was that the person who will find the missing child will be rewarded and thus as per this provision he has fulfilled the condition, hence plaintiff is entitled to claim reward.


It was contended by the respondents that there must be an acceptance to offer in order to convert it into a contract and assent is the basic essential in order to constitute a contract. At the time he was tracing the boy he was unaware about this reward associated with child, so without knowledge how can it create a contract between parties.

It was also argued by them that at the time of tracing the missing child he was acting as a servant and thus fulfilling the responsibilities and obligations for which he was sent to Hardwar from Cawnpore. 


It was held by the Honorable Court that knowledge and assent about a proposal is must in order to convert a proposal into enforceable agreement and in the present case plaintiff was neither aware nor has assent about the particular act. It was also said by the Honorable Judge that plaintiff was merely fulfilling his obligations at the time when he was tracing the boy.

So, the appeal was dismissed and it was held that plaintiff was not entitled to claim reward for finding the missing boy.

Concepts Highlighted in this Case:

In this case it was highlighted by the Honorable High Court of Allahabad that knowledge and acceptance of a proposal are the basic essentials in order to constitute a valid contract. If the person gives his assent and then performs the condition of proposal than only he is entitled to claim rewards associated with such proposal.


It can be concluded that through this case it was clearly established that firstly, acceptance or assent is a must for converting a proposal into enforceable contract. Secondly, parties must have knowledge about the proposal and without knowledge of the proposal it cannot converted into agreement even if condition associated with such proposal is fulfilled.

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


Previous articleState of West Bengal vs. Shew Mangal Singh & Ors
Next articleNatha Singh vs. Emperor
Ashutosh Vasistha
I am Ashutosh Vasistha from University Five Years Law College, Rajasthan University pursuing BA.LLB. (Hons.). The sphere of Constitutional Law, Contractual Laws, and Public Interest Litigations attracts me the most. If at all I get any free time, I would like to like to read autobiographies and biographies of renowned personalities. I love writing and on any contemporary legal or social issue. I love to adopt new skills especially hard skills as they are points which gives you a cut over others. I believe in cooperation and coordination with my team. I would like to be a responsible manager, who would listen to everybody's opinions and direct all my employees towards a common goal.