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Law Dictionary Home Dictionary Definition undue-influence

Undue influence, Any influence, pressure, or domination in such circumstances that the person acting under that influence may be held not to have exercised his free and independent volition in regard to the act. As to gifts, see title SPIRITUALISM and Lyon v. Home, (1868) LR 6 Eq 655, and as to wills, see Parfitt v. Lawless, (1872) LR 2 P&M 462. In the case of benefits or advantages obtained in certain relationships, the existence of this influence is presumed, e.g., guardian and ward, a parent over a child upon or soon after attaining age and the possession of property, a guide or instructor, medical advisers, ministers or professors of religion, managers of business [Coomber v. Coomber, (1911) 1 Ch 174], attendants upon or advisers of aged and infirm people. In such cases, in regard to transactions inter vivos, the onus of proving absence of undue influence lies on the person claiming the benefit of the disposition or act, and in some cases, e.g., gifts by clients to their solicitors (inter vivos), the onus can only be discharged by showing not only that the relationship has ceased, but that the donor was acting under independent advice. In the case of wills, the onus is shifted and the person alleging undue influence is called upon for proof of the allegation. For the general law on the subject, see Allcard v. Skinner, (1881) 36 Ch D 145; Low v. Guthrie, 1909 AC 278; Huguenin v. Baseley, (1807) 14 Ves 273; 1 W&T LC. In election matters, undue influence is any force, violence, or restraint, or the infliction, or threat to inflict, any injury, or the practice of any intimidation, in order to induce any person to vote, or refrain from voting, or on account of his having done so. See Chitty's Statutes, tit. 'Parliament.' The definition of 'undue influence' is widely worded and covers all kinds of fraudulent acts or omissions which in any way, directly or indirectly, interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right, and it is also true that the definition extends not only to actual interference but even to an attempt to interference, Shiv Kirpal Singh v. V.V. Giri, AIR 1970 SC 2097 (2114): (1970) 2 SCC 567: (1971) 2 SCR 197. It is elementary law that is not every influence which is brought to bear on a testator that can be characterised as 'undue'. It is open to a person to plead his case before the testator and to persuade him to make a disposition in his favour. And if the testator retains his mental capacity, and there is no element of fraud or coercion-it has often been observed that undue influence may in the last analysis be brought under one or the other of these two categories-the will cannot be attacked on the ground of undue influence, Naresh Charan Das Gupta v. Paresh Charan Das Gupta, AIR 1955 SC 363: (1955) 1 SCR 1035. [Succession Act, 1925, s. 61] The improper use of power or trust in a way that deprives a person of free will and substitutes another's objective, Black's Law Dictionary, 7th Edn., p. 1529. Undue Influence, exerted by way of pressure on a person not capable of resisting it, in order to benefit the person exercising the pressure, Poosathurai v. Kannappa, (1920) ILR 43 Mad 546; Niki v. Kirpa, AIR 1989 HP 51. Means (1) A contract is said to be induced by 'undue influence'. Where the relations subsisting between the parties are such that one of the parties is in a position to dominate the Will of the other and uses that position to obtain an unfair advantage over the other. (2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing principal, a person is deemed to be in a position to dominate the Will of another- (a) Where he holds a real or apparent authority over the other, or where he stands in fiduciary relation to the other; or (b) Where he makes a contract with a person whose mental capacity is temporarily or permanently affected by reason of age, illness, or mental or bodily distress. (3) Where a person who is in a position to dominate the Will of another 'enters, into a contract with him, and the transaction appears, on the face of it or on the evidence adduced, to be unconscionable the burden of proving that such contract was not induced by undue influence shall lie upon the person in a position to dominate the Will of the other, See Contract Act, 1872, s. 16.

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