Contract Act, 1872 - Free Consent

Two people are said to be in consent when they agree on same thing is same sense. This is known as consensus ad idem. However for a valid contract Free Consent is required. 

Consent is said to be free when it is not caused by 
(i) coercion as defined in Sec 15
(ii) undue influence as defined in Sec 16
(iii) fraud as defined in Sec 17
(iv) misrepresentation as defined in Sec 18
(v) mistake as defined in Sec 20, 21, 22

Section 15 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872defines 'coercion' as Coercion is 

(i) the committing or threatening to commit, any act forbidden by Indian Penal Code 1860, 
(ii) unlawfully threatening to detain or to detain, any property with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement
Consent obtained by a threat to commit suicide is also considered as coercion. (Ammiraju Vs. Seshamma)

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Section 16 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines undue influence as “A contract is said to be induced by undue influence where the relations subsisting between the parties are such that one of the parties is in a position to dominate the will of the other and uses that position to obtain an unfair advantage over the other.”
So essentials of undue influence are
There should be a relations subsisting between the parties
Relation subsisting should be such that one party is in a position to dominate the will of the other party
Dominating party should have used that position to obtain an advantage
The advantage obtained must be unfair.

Sec 18 Defines Misrepresentation as

When a person positively asserts that a fact is true when his information does not warrant it to be so, though he believes it to be true.
When there is a breach of duty by a person which brings advantage to the person committing it by misleading other.

So misrepresentation is an unintentional false about the material fact of the subject matter due to which promisee has provided his consent. 

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Acc to Sec 17 Fraud means and includes any of the following acts committed by a party to a contract either himself or by his agent with intent to deceive others or to induce others into a contact.

When a person makes a suggestion that a fact is true, however the fact is not true and the person making such statement or suggestion believes it not to be true.
When a person who has knowledge about a fact actively conceals it.
When a person makes promise without an intention to perform it.
When a person makes does any act which may be fitted to deceive.
When a person commits any act or omits which is deemed to be fraudulent by the law.


Mistake may be of two types: 
(1) Mistake of Law 
(2) Mistake of fact.

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