Education Sector Hotline: Contracting “App”tly

Posted by By at 24 May, at 15 : 32 PM Print

May 24, 2019


Let’s face it -apps dominate every minute of our daily lives. From food delivery, to cab booking, to health monitoring, there is an app for everything possible! Infact, apps exists for things we can’t even think of. So why should education, an integral part of our well-being and growth, be left behind?

Education Technology or Edtech for short, has ensured that education reaches the fingertips of all. From nursery rhymes for toddlers, to learning science for school students, and AI for the professionals, the “app” world has it all. Just a click away.

Each app that we download dictates its own terms and conditions, which govern the relation between the app owner and the users, the manner of use, the purpose of use, et all. Thus, these terms and conditions result in a contract between the app owner and users. The users, in most instances are adults, who are capable of concluding a valid contract. However, what happens when the apps are targeted for use by children and are downloaded by them? Between whom is the contract formed in such case? Are children capable of forming a valid contract in such case?

Under Indian law, a child is not competent to contract. This is because as per Indian Contract law, only a person who has reached the age of majority is competent to contract. The age of majority in India is 18 years as provided under the Indian Majority Act, 1895. Therefore, contract with a child would be void ab initio. This means that the app owner cannot enforce the contract with minor child even if they would want to.

However, a guardian can enter into a contract on behalf of the minor (i.e child) for their benefit. Under Indian law, a guardian can either be a natural guardian (parent) or a court appointed guardian under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. Under Hindu law, the father and then the mother are considered natural guardians. Under Muslim law, the father is the natural guardian.

“Benefit of the minor” has been interpreted broadly by the courts and is usually a factual matter. For instance, a contract for purchase of property by a guardian on behalf of a minor has been held to be for the “benefit of the minor”. Applying the analogy, a purchase of an app by a parent from the playstore or appstore, for use of their minor child is likely to be considered for the benefit of minor.

Thus, it is important to ensure that contracts / terms and conditions of apps directed towards minors should be entered into directly with a parents or guardian of a minor. For example, a contract for use of an online learning app offering game based solutions for minors should be entered into with a parent or a guardian, who may, in turn allow use of the services by a minor based on the parent/guardian’s discretion. This can be ensured by clarifying in the terms and conditions clearly that the contracting party should be an adult capable of contracting under law, using tools checking for the age of the user who downloads the apps etc. These steps will ensure that the contracting party for all purposes is the person who has the capability to contract, i.e parent / guardian from a validity of contract perspective.


– Aparna GaurAarushi Jain & Vivek KathpaliaYou can direct your queries or comments to the authors

FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific 2019 Awards: NDA ranked 2nd in the Most Innovative Law Firm category (Asia-Pacific Headquartered)

RSG-Financial Times: India’s Most Innovative Law Firm
2019, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

Chambers and Partners Asia Pacific: Band 1 for Employment, Lifesciences, Tax and TMT
2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific: Tier 1 for Government & Regulatory and Tax
2019, 2018

IFLR1000: Tier 1 for Private Equity and Project Development: Telecommunications Networks.
2019, 2018, 2017, 2014

Legal500: Tier 1 for Dispute, Tax, Investment Fu ds, Labour & Employment, TMT and Corporate M&A
2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

AsiaLaw 2019: Ranked ‘Outstanding’ for Technology, Labour & Employment, Private Equity, Regulatory and Tax

Who’s Who Legal 2019:
Nishith Desai, Corporate Tax and Private Funds – Thought Leader
Vikram Shroff, HR and Employment Law- Global Thought Leader
Vaibhav Parikh, Data Practices – Thought Leader (India)
Dr. Milind Antani, Pharma & Healthcare – only Indian Lawyer to be recognized for ‘Life sciences – Regulatory,’ for 5 years consecutively

Merger Market 2018:Fastest growing M&A Law Firm in India

Asia Mena Counsel’s In-House Community Firms Survey 2018:The only Indian Firm recognized for Life Sciences

IFLR: Indian Firm of the Year 
2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

IDEX Legal Awards 2015: Nishith Desai Associates won the “M&A Deal of the year”, “Best Dispute Management lawyer”, “Best Use of Innovation and Technology in a law firm” and “Best Dispute Management Firm”


The contents of this hotline should not be construed as legal opinion. View detailed disclaimer.

This Hotline provides general information existing at the time of preparation. The Hotline is intended as a news update and Nishith Desai Associates neither assumes nor accepts any responsibility for any loss arising to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material contained in this Hotline. It is recommended that professional advice be taken based on the specific facts and circumstances. This Hotline does not substitute the need to refer to the original pronouncements.

This is not a Spam mail. You have received this mail because you have either requested for it or someone must have suggested your name. Since India has no anti-spamming law, we refer to the US directive, which states that a mail cannot be considered Spam if it contains the sender’s contact information, which this mail does. In case this mail doesn’t concern you, please unsubscribe from mailing list.


Related Posts

Post Your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About Us

Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) is a research based international law firm with offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Silicon Valley, Singapore, New Delhi, Munich and New York.

Mobile App


  • .
  • .
  • .