Define acceptance & Explain the rules regarding a valid acceptance

According to section 2(b) of the Indian contract Act, 1872, defines an acceptance is “when the person to whom the proposal is made signifies is assent thereto, the proposal is said to be accepted becomes a promise”. On the acceptance of the proposal, the proposer is called the promisor/offeror and the acceptor is called the promise/offeree. Legal rules as to acceptance: A valid acceptance must satisfies the following rules:-

1) Acceptance must be obsolute and unqualified:

  • An acceptance to be valid it must be obsolute and unqualified and in accordance with the exact terms of the offer.
  • An acceptance with a variation, slight, is no acceptance, and may amount to a mere counter offer (i.e.., original may or may not accept.

2) Acceptance must be communicated to the offeror:

  • For a valid acceptance, acceptance must not only be made by the offeree but it must also be communicated by the offeree to the offeror.
  • Communication of the acceptance must be expressed or implied.
  • A mere mental acceptance is no acceptance.

3) Acceptance must be according to the mode prescribed (or) usual and reasonable manner:

  • If the offeror prescribed a mode of acceptance, acceptance must given according to the mode prescribed.
  • If the offeror prescribed no mode of acceptance, acceptance must given according to some usual and reasonable mode.
  • If an offer is not accepted according to the prescribed (or) usual mode. The proposer may within a reasonable time give notice to the offeree that the acceptance is not according to the mode prescribed.
  • If the offeror keeps quite he is deemed to have accepted the acceptance.

4) Acceptance must be given with in a reasonable time:

  • If any time limit is specified, the acceptance must be given with in that time.
  • If no time limit is specified, the acceptance must be given with in a reasonable time.

Example: Ramsgate victoria Hotel Company (vs) Monteflore (1886) Facts: On June 8th ‘M’ offered to take shares in ‘R’ Company. He received a letter of acceptance on November 23rd. he refused to take shares. Judgment: ‘M’ was entitled to refuse his offer has lapsed as the reasonable period which it could be accepted and elapsed.

5) It cannot precede an offer:

  • If the acceptance precedes an offer, it is not a valid acceptance and does not result in a contract.
  • In other words “acceptance subject to contract” is no acceptance.

6) Acceptance must be given by the parties (or) party to whom it is made:

  • An offer can be accepted only by the person (or) persons to whom it is made.
  • It cannot be accepted by another person without the consent of the offeror.

Example: Boulton (vs) Jones (1857). Facts: Boulton bought a hose-pipe business from Brocklehurst. Jones, to whom Brocklehurst owed a debt, placed an order with Brocklehurst for the supply of certain goods. Boulton supplied the goods even though the order was not addressed to him. Jones refused to pay Boulton for the goods because he, by entering into a contract with Brocklehurst, intended to set off his debt against Brocklehurst. Judgment: The offer was made to the Brocklehurst and it was not in the power of Boulton to step in and accept. Therefore there was no contract.

7) It cannot be implied from silence:

  • Silence does not amount to acceptance.
  • If the offeree does not respond to offer (or) keeps quite, the offer will lapse after reasonable time.
  • The offeror cannot compel the offeree to respond offer (or) to suggest that silence will be equivalent to acceptance.

8) Acceptance must be expressed (or) implied:

  • An acceptance may be given either by words (or) by conduct.
  • An acceptance which is expressed by words (i.e.., spoken or written) is called ‘expressed acceptance’.
  • An acceptance which is inferred by conduct of the person (or) by circumstances of the case is called an ‘implied or tacit acceptance’.

Example: Carilill (vs) Carbolic Ball company (1893). Facts: A company advertised in several newspapers is that a reward of L 100 (ponds) would be given to any person contracted influenza after using the smoke ball according to the printed directions. Once
Mr.Carilill used the smoke balls according to the directions of the company but contracted influenza. Judgment: she could recover the amount as by using the smoke balls she accepted the offer.
9) Acceptance may be given by performing some condition (or) by accepting some consideration.
10) Acceptance must be made before the offer lapses (or) before the offer is withdrawn.

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