State the Doctrine of Supervening Impossibility.

Doctrine of Supervening Impossibility.

According to Para 2 of Section 56, which states that, “A contract to do an act which after the contract is made, becomes impossible, or by reasons of some event which the promisor could not prevent. unlawful becomes void when the act becomes impassible or unlawful.

In other words, subsequent impossibility refers to the impossibility which arises subsequent to the making of the contract. If the contract was capable of performance at the time of making it, but subsequently because of some event the performance becomes impossible or unlawful, the contract becomes void and the parties get discharges from their obligations. However, supervening impossibility differs from initial impossibility, as in case of initial impossibility the agreement is void-ab-initio whereas in case cf supervening impossibility the contract becomes void.

The contract becomes void on the basis cf supervening impossibility if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The act should have become impossible.
  • The impossibility should be by reason of some event which the promisor could not -prevent.
  • The impossibility should not be self-induced by the promisor.

However, in the following cases the performance of a contract becomes subsequently impossible:

  • Destruction of Subject-Matter.
  • Death or Personal Incapacity.
  • Change of Law.
  • Cessation of a state of things.
  • Declaration of War.

Exceptions to the Doctrine of Supervening Impossibility:

  • Difficulty of Performance.
  • Commercial Impossibility.
  • Default of a Third Party.
  • Strikes, Lockouts and Civil Disturbances.
  • Partial Impossibilities.

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