SUBJECT-MATTER OF CONTRACT
Section 6 provides that “Goods” form the subject-matter of a contract of sale. “Goods” mean every kind of movable property other then actionable claims and money, and includes stock and shares, growing crops, grass, and things attached to or forming part of the land which arc agreed to be severed before sale or under the contract of sale. The definition of ‘goods’ as given the Act is exhaustive. Actionable claims and current money have been expressly excluded from the scope of the definition. The definition of ‘goods’ under the Act includes all growing crops and grass and things attached to or forming part of the land which are agreed to be severed before sale. The interest of a partner in partnership also comes within the definition of goods.
Goods which form the subject matter of a contract of sale may be divided into three types namely.
1. Existing Good; or
2. Future Goods; or
3. Contingent Goods,
1) EXISTING GOODS
Goods owned and possessed by the seller at the time of the making of the contract of sale are called existing goods. Sometimes the seller may he in possession but may not be the owner of the goods. For instance in the case of sale by a mercantile agent or a pledge the goods are possessed but not owned by the seller. Where the existing goods are the subject-matter of a contract, it is essential that they must be in actual existence, for a present sale can be made only of a subject-matter having actual or possible existence. Thus, for example if A sells his horse to B, believing it to be is existence but in fact the horse is dead no contract will arise.
Existing goods may again be either specific, or ascertained or unascertained.
a) Specific goods:
It means goods identified and agreed upon at the time a contract of sale is made. Where there is a contract for specific goods, the seller would not fulfill his contract by delivering any goods other then those agreed upon. To be specific the goods must be actually identified; it is not sufficient that they capable of identification.
For instance, if A who owns a number of cows, promises to sell one of them, the contract is for unspecified goods. But if the cow that is to be sold has been singled out. The contract is for specific goods.
b) Ascertained goods
The phrase ‘ascertained goods’ has not been defined in the Act. Ascertained goods though sometime used as specific goods are not always the same. As contrasted with specific goods which are identified at the time of the sale, ascertained goods mean goods identified in accordance with the agreement after the contract of sale is made. If I had 30 chairs of the same kind and I offer to sell 15, the goods are Unascertained till 15 particular chairs are appropriated toward the contract. On appropriation the goods become ascertained.
c) Unascertained goods:
The expression ‘unascertained goods’, means generic goods, i.e. goods defined by description or even by sample. Unascertained goods are not definite and specific. The seller in the case of a contract for the sale of Unascertained goods has the option, rather the right to supply any goods of the kind or the quality contracted for. He is not bound to deliver any particular goods and he may furnish any goods answering their description in the contract. Where a dealer has only one car and he makes a sale of it, the sale is complete when it is made, because there is no uncertainty about the subject-mater of the sale. But, if the dealer has two or more cars in his stock, and he contract to sell one, and the parties do not decide as to which particular car will be supplied in execution of the contract, the contract is one for unascertained goods and the ownership in the car will not pass to the buyer unless and until the car which is to be delivered has been ascertained.
2) FUTURE GOOD
It means goods to be manufactured or produced or acquired by the seller after the making of the contract of sale. As rule, any person may sell or offer for sale at any price goods of which he is not the owner, but which he hopes or expects to acquire. A contract to sell oil not yet pressed from seeds in his Possession is a contract for the sale of future goods.
It may, however be noted that where by a contract the seller purports to effect the present sale of future goods, the contract operates as an agreement to sell. [Section 6(3)] The reason for the same is that the ownership of the goods cannot be transferred before the goods come into existence. Thus a contract for the sale of future goods is always an agreement to sell.
3) CONTINGENT GOODS
These are a type of future goods, the acquisitions of which by the seller depends upon a contingency which may or may not happen. A seller may contract to sell goods Conditionally on their acquisition, that is, goods which might be expected to come into existence as,
a) Goods to arrive,
b) Future crops,
c) The eggs,
Such contracts are completed when goods arrive or crops mature or the eggs grow. But such contracts give no right, of action if the contingency does not happen.
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