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What is Mistake? Explain Mistake of Law.

What is Mistake? Explain Mistake of Law.

Course: B.Com

1 Answer

Mistake occurs when the parties intending to do one thing by error do something else. Mistake is defined as the erroneous belief concerning something. When the agreement is made under a mistake, then there is no consent and the agreement is not valid. Mistake can be of the following types:

Mistake of Law:
  • Mistake of Indian law.
  • Mistake of Foreign Law.
Mistake of Fact:

Mistake of Law:

Mistake of law may be further classified into (a) mistake of Indian Law, or (b) mistake of foreign law.


Mistake of Indian Law: The general rule states that the mistake of law of the land is no excuse. According to Section 21 states that a contract is not voidable because it was caused by a mistake as to any law in force in India. Therefore, a mistake of Indian Law will not affect the validity of the contract. For example, A and B make a contract grounded on the erroneous belief that a particular debt is time barred by the Indian Law of limitations. Thus, the contract is valid.

Mistake of Foreign Law: A person cannot be expected to know the laws of other countries. Thus, the rule states that ignorance of law is no excuse cannot be applied to foreign law, and a mistake of foreign law is treated as a mistake of fact According to Section 21 of the Act, a mistake as to a law not in force in India has the same effect as a mistake of fact. Therefore, the contract will be void, if both the parties are under a mistake as to a foreign law.

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April 5, 2019