WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF PUBLIC POLICY?
An agreement is said to be opposed to public policy when it is harmful to the public welfare. An agreement whose object (or) consideration is opposed to public policy is void. Some of those agreements which are (or) which have been held to be, opposed to public policy and are unlawful are as follows:-
1. Agreements of trading with the enemy: An agreement made with an alien enemy at the time of war is illegal on the ground of public policy. This agreement is based upon the two reasons: a) Contract made during the continuance of the war, an alien enemy can neither contract with an Indian subject (nor) can he sue in an Indian court. He can do so only after he receives a license from the central government. b) Contract made before the war may either be suspended (or) dissolved.
2. Agreement to commit a crime: An agreement is to commit a crime is opposed to public policy and is void. In such a case the court will not enforce the agreements.
3. Agreements in restraint of legal proceedings: An agreement in restraint of legal proceedings is the one by which any party thereto is restricted absolutely from enforcing his right under a contract through a court. Contracts of this nature are void because their object is to defeat the provision of the Indian Limitation act.
4. Agreements which interfere with the administration of justice: Where the consideration (or) object of an agreement of which is to interfere with the administration of justice is unlawful, being opposed to public policy. It may take any of the following forms:- a) Interference with the court of justice, b) Stifling prosecution, c) Maintenance, d) Champerty.
5. Trafficking in public offices and titles: Trafficking in public offices means trading in public offices to obtain some gain that otherwise cannot be obtained. Trafficking in the title means some such award from the government in return for consideration. Contact of this nature is void and is against public policy and also it is illegal.
6. Agreement tending to create interest as opposed to duty: If a person enters into an agreement whereby he is bound to do something which is against to public (or) professional duty, in such a case the agreement is void on the ground of the public policy.
7. Agreements in restraint of parental rights: A father (or) mother is the legal guardian of his/her minor child. This right and duty of guardianship cannot be bartered away. Therefore, a father/mother cannot enter into any agreement inconsistent with his duties which are opposed to public policy.
8. Agreement in restraint of marriage: Every agreement in restraint of marriage of any person, other than a minor, is void and opposed to public policy. This is because the law regards marriage and marital status as the right of every individual.
9. Agreement restricting personal liberty: Agreement that unduly restricts the personal freedom of the parties is void and against public policy.
10. Agreement in restraint of trade: Every agreement by which anyone is restrained from exercising a lawful profession (or) trade (or) business of any kind, is to that extent void and opposed to public policy