According to According to Sir John Salmond” An obligation, therefore, may be defined as a proprietary right in personam or a duty which corresponds to such a right.” Obligations are all in one class of duties, namely those which are co-relatives of rights in personam.
According to Holland, An obligation as its entomology denotes is a tie by one person is bound to perform some act for the benefit of another. In some cases, the two parties agree thus to be bound together; in other cases as they are bound without their consent.
According to Savigny an obligation is the control over another person, yet not over his person in all respects (in which case his personality would be destroyed), but over single acts of his which must be conceived of subtracted from his free will and subjected to our will
Sources of Obligation –
There are four sources of an obligation which are as follows –
(1) Contractual obligation (obligations arising from contract) –
Contractual obligations are those which are created by contracts or agreements. These obligations create rights in personam between the parties. The rights so created are generally proprietary rights. Sometimes a contract creates rights which are not proprietary though they are in personam.
(2) Delictual Obligation (obligations arising from tort) –
Delictual obligations arises from tortious liability. According to Salmond, ” A Tort may be defined as a civil wrong for which the remedy is an action for damages and which is not solely a breach of contract or the breach of Trust or other merely equitable obligations. Delictual obligations are those in which a sum of money to be paid as compensation for a tort
(3) Quasi-contractual obligations (obligations arising from quasi-contract) –
The term “Quasi” is a Latin word which, which means “as if” or “similarly”. Quasi-contract is not a real contract entered into by the parties intentionally. It resembles a contract, in which law imposes an obligation on a person to perform an obligation on the ground of equity. Quasi-contract is based on the principle of equity that “A person shall not be allowed to enrich himself unjustly at the expense of another”.In other words, A person should not receive or accept any benefit unjustly. If so, he has an obligation it back to the right owner. Such obligations is called Quasi-contractual obligation.
Example – “X” leaves his Bag at Y’s house by mistake. “Y” has Quasi-contract obligation to return it to “X”
(4) Innominate obligation –
Innominate obligations- Innomited obligations are all the obligations which are other than those falling under the heads of contractual obligation, delictual obligations and Quasi-contractual obligation.
Examples – Obligations of trustees towards their beneficiaries