This case analysis is written by Anurag Maharaj, a student of law at Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida.

Allahabad High Court

Appellant – Lalman Shukla

Respondent – Gauri Dutt

Decided on – 17th April 1913

Bench – Justice Banerji

Facts of the case

In January 1913, a nephew of the defendant ran away from home. So, to find the child, the defendant Gauri Dutt sent all his servants to various parts in search of missing child so that he could be quickly traced. They had come from child Cownpore. The complainant was also a servant who went to look for the missing boy.

After a few days of failed attempts, the defendant released a handbill promising Rs 501 as a reward for the person who finds the missing boy. The servants did not know this reward for finding the boy. At that time they were doing a kind of service and the expenses for transportation and everything else were paid.

 Now, just after the defendant declared the award, one of his servants named Lalman Shukla found the child in Rishikesh and brought him to Cownpore but he did not realize the reward as he was unaware of the same. He was rewarded with two sovereigns for his kind act, and Rs 20.

When the plaintiff was dismissed from his job after 6 months, he brought a suit against his master claiming that he was not given the reward money promised by the defendant to the person who finds the missing child.

Therefore, the lower court ruled that the complainant will not receive the compensation because (1) Offer was made after the plaintiff left, and (2) no subsequent promise was made to pay the reward. 

After that, an appeal was lodged against the order of the subordinate court in Allahabad’s high court in order to give the appellant a claim of the reward. So, this was an application for review against B Shoe Prasad ‘s judgment and order, Cownpore’s court judge of small cases.


The appellants strongly claimed that the task was performed, and the performance of a task would be enough to get a  reward. It is not relevant that the person performing the act should or should not have knowledge of the reward associated with it. Therefore, the plaintiff is entitled to claim the reward for his specific act. 


They argued that both approvals of an offer and knowledge of the offer must exist to call it a contract. And the complainant at the time of the performance was unaware of the offer and added reward to it. This is therefore not a legal contract, because the acceptance has not been approved. Therefore, the plaintiff has no right to earn any reward for his performance. 


The subordinate court held that the complainant will not receive the compensation because (1) Offer was made after the plaintiff left, and (2) no subsequent promise was made to pay the reward. 

Them, the Allahabad High Court held that the plaintiff was not entitled to any remuneration because

1. To call it a contract, knowledge and consent is required on a proposal.

2. The complainant had been unaware of the reward for the specific act.

3. Since the plaintiff had no idea of the offer at the time of the performance. So, it can not be said that he accepted the offer and therefore, no contract exists.

The appeal was dismissed by the Honorable High Court of Allahabad, and it was held that the complainant was not entitled to any reward for finding the missing child.

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