Preamble, Short title, Extent & Commencements of the Indian Contract Act, 1872

The preamble to the Indian Contract Act, which recites ‘it is expedient to define and amend certain parts of the law relating to contracts. This clearly shows that it was not intended to deal exhaustively with the whole branch of the law of contract but ‘to define and amend certain parts of that law.

Section 1 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 [Act No. 9 of 1872]1* reads as follows:

1. Short title.

This Act may be called the Indian Contract Act, 1872.

Extent, Commencements

It extends to the whole of India 2*[except the State of Jammu and Kashmir]; and it shall come into force on the first day of September, 1872.

3*Nothing herein contained shall affect the provisions of any Statute, Act or Regulation not hereby expressly repealed, nor any usage or custom of trade, nor any incident of any contract, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act.


  • 1The chapters and sections of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882), which relate to contracts are, in places in which that Act is in force, to be taken as part of this Act-see Act 4 of 1882, a. 4.
  • It has been amended in C.P. by C.P. Act 1 of 1915 and in C.P. and Berar by C.P. and Berar Act 15 of 1938.
  • 2Subs. by Act 3 of 1951, s. 3 and Sch., for ” except Part B States
  • 3The words ” The enactments mentioned in the schedule hereto are repealed to the extent specified in the third column thereof but ” were rep. by Act 10 of 1914.
  • This Act shall come into force in the State of Sikkim on 1-9-1984 vide Notifn. No. s.o. 641 (E), dated 24.8.1984 Gaz. of India, Exty. Pt.II, See. 3 (ii).
  • Extended to and brought into force in Dadra and Nagar Haveli (w.e.f. 1-7-65) by Reg. 6 of 1963, s.2 & Sch. I.
  • Extended to Goa, Daman and Diu by Reg. 11 of 1963, s.3 & Sch.
  • Extended to the Union territory of pondicherry by Act 26 of 1968, s.3 and Schedule.
  • Extended to Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands (w.e.f. 1-10- 1967):vide Reg. 8 of 1965, s.3 & Sch.

COMMENTS

In one of the oldest cases in Irrawaddy Flotilla Co. v. Bugwandas (1891) 18 ILR Cal. 620 (PC), the question arose while interpreting section 1 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 which reads “Nothing herein contained shall affect the provisions of any statute, Act or Regulation, not hereby expressly repealed, nor any usage or custom of trade, nor any incident of any contract not inconsistent with the provisions of the Lord Macnaghten applying the rule of interpretation observed : The words not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are not to be connected with the clause nor any usage or custom of trade. The learned Lord ruled that if such a sentence is to be tried by any rules of grammar, seems to require that the application of those words should be confined to the subject which immediately precedes them.

See Also :  Irrawaddy Flotilla Co. v. Bugwandas (1891) 18 ILR Cal. 620 (PC)