Define Consent. When is Consent Said to be Free?


business and industrial law

Consent

When two parties enter into a contract the first thing that is required is perfect mutual understanding regarding the subject matter of the contract. Both the parties should agree upon the same thing in the same sense. This understanding is called consent.

Section 13 of the Contract Act provides : Two or more persons are said to consent when they agree upon the same thing in the same sense. This means that parties should have the same thing in mind while entering into a contract. The parties are of the same mind, a contract does not come into existence : Examples below

  •  A agrees to sell his Maruti car 2004 model for Rs. 1,00,000. B agrees, to buy the same. There is a valid contract since A and B have consented to the same subject matter.
  • A who owns three maruti cars, offers to sell one, say, ‘Car X’ to B for Rs. 2,00,000. B agrees to buy the car for the price thinking that A is
    selling ‘Car Y’. There is no consent and hence no contract. A and B have agreed not upon the same thing but to different things.

Free consent Consent of both the parties entering into contract must be free. It is an essential requirement of a valid contract. So it is not only important that there should be consent, but the consent should be free also.

A free consent is defined by Section 14 of the Indian Contract Act in these words: Consent is said to be free when it is not caused by (1) Coercion or (2) Undue influence or (3) Fraud or (4) Misrepresentation, or (5) Mistake.

  1. Coercion, i.e., where consent is secured by doing or threatening to do any act forbidden under Indian Penal Code or by unlawful detaining of properties.
  2. Undue influence, ie., by exercising domination on the will of the other party by one who is in a position to do so.
  3. Fraud, ie.,by actively misstating or concealing some facts with a view of inducing the other party to make a contract.
  4. Misrepresentation, i.e., mis-statement of facts innocently without any intention to deceire.
  5. Mistake, i.e., facts are presented different from what they actually are.

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