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Case Brief of Lalman Shukla vs Gauri Dutt

The case of Lalman Shukla V Gauri Dutt is a landmark Judgment in the history of the Indian Contract Act 1872 and support the principle of valid acceptance.

The case was filled in the Allahabad High Court in 1913 and the Judgment was given by the Hon’ble justice J. Banerjee

The Facts

In this case, the defendant Gauri Dutt’s nephew was found missing from the home and no clue was found of him Gauri Dutt the defendant send his servants to different places in search of his nephew. The man Lalman Shukla is one of the servents among all Gauri Dutt events. 

Lalman Shukla was a plaintiff who was a mum in the Gauri Dutt firm. Gauri Dutt who was a defendant give some money while going to Haridwar from Kanpur for his expenses during the process before leaving the home.

As soon as Lalman Shukla leave the house the defendant announced the reward of 499 rupees whosever found the Gauri Dutt nephew and the plaintiff  Lalman Shukla has no idea about this reward.  The plaintiff Lalman Shukla found the missing nephew and back to his home in Kanpur. Six months after the said incident  Gauri Dutt removed the Lalman Shukla from the job.

After being removed from the job The plaintiff claimed that money which was announced by Gauri Dutt at the time of the missing of her nephew but Gauri Dutt denied paying the said reward. 

As a result the plaintiff Lalman Shukla filed a case against his master Gauri Dutt for not giving the said reward.


  •   *Whether there is a valid offer and acceptance or not
  • *Whether Lalman Shukla is entitled to any rewards from Gauri Dutt 
  • * Whether there is any situation that creates a valid contract between them


The Lalman Shukla strongly argue that he find Gauri Dutt lost nephew and is being entitled to the reward that the Dutts announce.

He stated that it is not important that you have to be a piece of prior knowledge about the reward, especially under these circumstances. He also said the fact that as per SECTION 8 of the INDIAN CONTRACT ACT 1872 which state that  ‘the performance of the act or the acceptance of any consideration of a proposal is an acceptance of the proposal’.

He stated that it was immaterial the person who has performed the act must know the condition to claim the reward.


The defendant Gauri Dutt strongly argue that the plaintiff Lalman Shukla doesn’t have any prior knowledge about the reward before finding his nephew.

So an offer without the knowledge of the offeree or the promise cannot be accepted and also there was no such possibility for the plaintiff to accept the offer without even knowing about it. 

Gauri Dutt argued that according to section 2(a) of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, 

“When one person signifies to another his willingness to do or to abstain from doing anything to obtain the assent of that other to such act or abstinence he said to propose.”

Further under section 2(b),

 “when the person to whom the proposal is made signifies his assent thereto, the proposal is said to be accepted a proposal when accepted becomes a promise.”

Therefore there is a need for acceptance and prior knowledge of the offer before a valid contract between the parties.

According to SECTION 2(h) of the INDIAN CONTRACT ACT 1872 If there is no acceptance there is no agreement that can be enforceable in the court of law.

So according to the defendant, Gauri Dutt Plaintiff Lalman Shukla does not entitle to any reward.


After analyzing all facts the honourable justice  J Banerjee of Allahabad high court stated that-

For creating and entering into a valid contract there has to be knowledge and assent to the offeree made by the proposer.

 Here the plaintiff does not know about the offer. 

The judge reiterated that the plaintiff was fulfilling his obligations as a servant of tracing the missing boy which was a part of his duty. Therefore, the plaintiff’s suit against the defendant was completely dismissed by the court.