Significance of Sulahnama
I sent a sulahnama on 100 Rs stamp paper during talks of mutual consent divorce with the opposite party and it was "signed" by me. The sulahnama contained terms of divorce and settlement. However, the opposite party turned down the offer later, kept the sulahnama and thereafter instituted criminal case against me. The sulahnama has some incriminating contents against me if taken as acceptance/admittance by me. Am I legally bound as acceptance/admittance of statements of the contents even though the sulahnama was never accepted/consented/agreed/signed by the opposite party? Is a sulahnama governed by the Indian Contract Act?
Sir, Sulahnama is the Urdu term for what is known as an Agreement of Compromise. The law relating to compromise can be found in Order 23 Rule 3 of the Civil Procedure Code 1908. This rule explains that a suit can be compromised in a civil matter after the satisfaction of the agreement of compromise which mandatorily should be signed by both the parties to come into effect. As the Sulahnama entered by you is incomplete to the extent of its acceptance by the other parties it is not binding.
Secondly a Sulahnama is not governed by the Indian Contract Act of 1872, however Order 23 of the C.P.C. mentions that, if an agreement is void as per the Contract Act it cannot be held lawful. Therefore, one can infer that it is not governed but it should be filtered through the Contract Act of 1872.
Lastly, the document entered by you will not have a significant evidentiary value. Sections 61 – 90 of the Indian Evidence Act lay down a lot of procedure for documentary evidence to me admitted in trial and to judge its relevancy. These sections mandate documents to be attested by a competent authority to be proven authentic and make compulsory, ratification by a witness, nothing of which inter alia other procedure mentioned in the Act can be proven in your case. Though you have signed the document, the validity of the same can always be debated in a court of law and you are by no legal bounds abstained from denying contents of the Sulahnama and it cannot be considered your final statement.
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