Contracts with pardanashin woman
A contract with a pardanashin woman is presumed to have been induced by undue influence. She can avoid the contract unless the other party can show that it was her “intelligent and voluntary act”. There is, however, no statutory or judicial definition of the term “pardanashin woman” . In the opinion of the Bombay High Court a woman does not become pardanashin simply because “she lives in some degree of seclusion”. The concept probably means a woman who is totally secluded from ordinary social intercourse. The following observation of the Privy Council explains the concept to a certain extent. It is absolutely clear that Mrs Hodges was not a pardanashin woman. The term quasi - pardanashin seems to have been invented for the occasion. Their lordships take it to mean a woman, who not being of the pardanashin class, is yet so close to them in kinship in habits, and so secluded from ordinary social intercourse, that a like amount of incapacity for business should be described to her and the same amount of protection which the law gives to pardanashin women must be extended to her. The contention is a novel one and their lordships are not favourably impressed by it. As to a certain well known and easily ascertained class of women, well known rules of law are established with the wisdom of which we are now concerned ; outside that class it much depends in each case on the character and are not bound to take special precautions that her action shall be intelligent and voluntarily and to provide it was so in case of dispute.
In a case before the Bombay High Court :
It was found that a lady appeared before the registrar for registration of certain documents, which she stood as a witness in the box in a suit, which she put in tenants and fixed and recovered rents from them in respect of her house. The court held that she could not be treated as a pardanashin lady.
Once it is shown that a contract is made with a pardanashin woman, the law presumes undue influence. The burden lies on the other party to show that no undue influence was used, that the contract was fully explained to her and that she freely consented. The following statement of the Privy Council in Kalibaksh Singh versus Ram Gopal Singh explains the extent of this onus : In the first place the lady was a pardanashin lady and the law throws around her a special cloack of protection. It demands that the burden of proof shall in such a case rest not with those who attack but those who found upon the deed and the proof must go so far as to show affirmatively and conclusively that the deed was not only executed by, but was explained to, and was really understood by, the grantor. In such case, it must also, of course, be established that the deed was not signed under duress, but arose from the free and independent will of the grantor.