Useful Notes on Legal Conception of Personality

In the eye of law persons are the substances of which rights and duties are the attributes. It is only in this respect that persons possess judicial significance, and this is the exclusive point of view from which personality receives legal recognition.

Salmond defines a person in law as any being to whom the law attributes a capacity of interests and therefore of right, of acts and therefore of duties.

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Persons so defined are of two kinds, distinguishable as natural and legal. A natural person is a being to whom the law attributes personality in accordance with reality and truth. Legal persons are beings, real or imaginary, to whom the law attributes personality by way of fiction, when there is none in fact.

Personality Is Wider than Humanity:

Salmond says that per­sonality is a wider and vaguer term than humanity. Persons in ordinary parlance are male and female human beings. The legal sense of persons is not identical with the ordinary sense. Legal personality is an artifi­cial creation of the law.

All human beings do not necessarily possesslegal personality. In Roman law slaves though human beings were not regarded as persons. They are treated as chattels destitute of any personality. Infants and lunatics enjoy a restricted personality.

Con­versely entities other than human beings enjoy full legal personality, e.g., an idol or a corporation. An idol when installed in a temple is the physical personification of the deity and after consecration the stone image gets its soul breathed into it.

A joint stock company or a mu­nicipal corporation though regarded as persons in the eye of law are not human beings. A fictitious personality is assigned to them in such cases. Salmond is, therefore, right when he says that personality is a wider and vaguer term than humanity.

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