In this article, we will discuss the topic legal personality in Jurisprudence, and what is the origin of the legal personality?, meaning of the person and its kind, who is a a legal person?, who is a natural person?, who is a legal person?, etc.
The main purpose of the law is to govern the relationship between individuals in the society. The law is concerned with regulating human conduct, the concept of legal personality constitutes an important subject matter of jurisprudence for there cannot be rights and duties without a person.
Personality of a human being means the possession of certain feature particularly belonging to mankind, e.g. power of thought, power of speech, etc. Hence, there are certain attributes which make a human being a person having the personality recognized by law. If any human being has no attributes provided by the law than he is not a person at all, e.g. Slaves have no right they are like chattels (things) and therefore they are not persons. But, in law, there are persons who are not human being, like a corporation, company, university, etc.
Origin of the concept of legal personality (person):-
The word “person” is derived from the Latin word “persona” which means a mask worn by actors while playing different roles in a drama. Until sixty century the word was used to show the part played by a man in life. After this, it started to be used in the sense of a living being capable of having rights and duties. Now it is used in different senses in different disciplines. In modern time the word has been used in the wider sense it includes not only human being but also associations, gods, idols, corporations, etc. as well. But there may be living persons, who are not treated as “person” in law because they are not capable of having rights and duties such as slaves and in Hindu law an ascetic ‘sanyasi’ who has renounced the world leave far from the home.
Definition of Person:-
Many definitions of Persons, in different ways have been given by the various jurists, as follows;
According to Salmond “A person is any being whom the law regards as capable of rights and duties. Any being that is so capable is a person, whether a human being or not, and no being that is not so capable is a person even though he be a man.”
He defines the person as the subject or bearer of right.
According to Gray, a person is an entity to which rights and duties may be attributed.
According to Austin, the term “person” includes physical or natural person including every being which can be deemed human.
Section 11 of IPC:-
According to Section 11 of the IPC the term ‘person’ includes any company or association, or body of persons, whether incorporated or not.
Classification of Person:-
Persons can be defined into two categories
(a) Natural Persons (human being), and
(b) Legal or Artificial or Juristic Person.
There are some natural persons who do not enjoy the status of legal persons or person and vice-versa.
A natural person is a person (in legal meaning one has its own legal personality) that is an individual living human being. A natural person is a being to whom the law attributes personality in accordance with reality and truth, and also who is regarded by law as having rights and duties. In order to be a natural person in law, a human being must satisfy two conditions namely,
a.He must be living human being and
b.He must be recognized by the state as a person and he must not be a slave in the absolute control of his boss or master or otherwise civilly dead as a monk who has renounced the world.
The word ‘person‘ is derived from the Latin word ‘persona’. It denotes not only human being but anybody or anything which permitted to assert legal claims or subjected to legal duties. From the legal aspect, the mask of personality does not necessarily have to be worn by human beings. Legal persons are created artificially and law recognized them as a legal person. They are persons only in the eye of the law not in general. They are also created by legal fiction and therefore called as fictitious also. They are called various name like fictitious, juristic, artificial, or moral etc.
For example in law idiots, dead man, corporations, companies, idols, etc. are treated as legal persons.