January 2, 2024

The primary goal of the law is to regulate interpersonal relationships throughout society. Since rights and obligations cannot exist without a person, the concept of legal personality is crucial to understanding how the law regulates human behaviour. 

A person’s personality refers to the characteristics that are unique to humans, such as their ability to think, speak, or behave. Therefore, there are characteristics that distinguish a human being from a person whose individuality is acknowledged by the law. A person is not a person at all if they lack any characteristics stipulated by the law. For example, slaves have no rights and are treated like property, hence they are not considered human beings. However, there are non-human entities in the legal field, such as corporations, companies, universities, etc.

juristic person in jurisprudence

  • A non-human legal entity acknowledged by the law and having the same rights and obligations as a human being is known as a juristic person.
  • In the case of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee v Som Nath Das and Others (2000), the Supreme Court ruled that the term “Jurisdictional Person” implies that an entity is recognized by law as a person even though it is not otherwise. Put another way, it is an artificially made person that is to be recognized as such under law, not a single, unique natural person.

legal personality in jurisprudence: Origin

  • The Latin word “persona,” which refers to a mask that players wear while assuming several characters in a play, is where the word “person” originates. The word was used to describe a man’s role in life up until the 1960s. Following this, it began to be used to refer to a living thing with rights and obligations. These days, it is employed in a variety of areas and contexts. The term has a broader meaning now that it encompasses not only people but also associations, gods, idols, companies, etc.
  • However, some living beings may not be recognized by the law as “persons” because they lack the capacity for rights and obligations, such as slaves, and in Hindu law, an ascetic known as a “sanyasi” who has given up on life is considered to be far from their home.

legal person in jurisprudence: Status

Legal Status of Unborn Person:

  • An unborn child can receive a gift from their mother.
  • For the purposes of the rule against perpetuity, ownership may be vested in a child while still in the mother’s womb (en ventre sa mere).
  • A child in the womb of their mother must receive a portion in accordance with the Hindu Law of Partition, just like the other surviving heirs. If the child does not survive to give birth, his portion may be divided equally among the heirs who are still alive.
  • Injury to a child while they are still in the womb is illegal in India under the Penal Code.
  • Even so, the rights granted to unborn children are conditional, meaning they won’t be realized until the requirement of being born alive is met.
  • The Act on Transfer of Property of 1882 provides additional protection for the proprietary rights of unborn individuals.
  • Other laws, such as Canadian law, recognize the legal status of unborn infants.
  • The rule that states that a pregnant woman sentenced to death should be respited (relieved) as of right until she delivers the child confirms the status of the unborn person under English law.
  • Notably, because a child in a mother’s womb has no rights, Paton does not acknowledge the infant as a legal person. Nevertheless, this viewpoint is untenable.

Legal Status of Dead Person:

  • According to Salmond, a person’s personality begins at birth and ends with his demise.
  • As a result, in the perspective of the law, deceased people are no longer considered to be human beings since they have no interests, rights, or obligations. A dead man’s corpse is not legally considered property. But Salmond identifies three issues that worry live people long after they pass away and about which the law will pay attention. They are:
  • Dead-Man Body
  • His reputation
  • His estate
  • Even if a dead man’s corpse belongs to no one, the law aims to guarantee a respectable burial or cremation for it. This same provision is listed in the Indian Constitution.
  • Any defamatory statement made about a deceased person that damages their reputation while they are still alive and is meant to offend close relatives and family members is punishable under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code.

Legal Status of Corporations:

  • A corporation can be identified apart from the individuals that make up the corporation. Every company has a distinct personality. A company has the right to file and receive lawsuits.
  • When a corporation has dead members, the corporation still exists. The law acknowledges a corporation as an ongoing, permanent legal body.

It is evident that incorporation was crucial since it gives non-living entities, like businesses, institutions, etc., legal identity, which aids in defining their responsibilities and rights. These inanimate beings possess legal personality and are able to acquire, utilize, and dispose of assets under their own names. This benefit is not available to unincorporated institutions as their existence is the same as that of the members.

Leave a Comment