Not from today, but since ages, we come across the situation of buying and selling goods and services. A contract is not something you specifically enter, rather it is something with which we deal in our daily lives.

It could be, buying goods from a shop, availing cable connection services, or installing an app on a phone, contracts are everywhere. Contracts are an integral part of one’s life and business. Every transaction is a contract whether written or verbal.  The Indian Contracts Act, 1872 deals with the laws relating to contracts and contractual disputes in India.

In simpler terms, a contract is nothing but a collection of rights and obligations binding one party to another by exchanging consideration within the monetary forms. As per section 2 of The Indian Contract Act 1872, a contract is “An agreement enforceable by law”. This definition implies that not all agreements are contracts. But, it considers only those agreements enforceable by law and don’t seem to be against the general public policy as valid contracts. An agreement must satisfy certain essentials as laid out by the law to become a legitimate contract.

Essentials of a Valid Contract

Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 states few essentials that have to be present in a valid contract. These are:

• An agreement between the two parties.

• A proposal by one party and also the other should accept the same, then it becomes an agreement.

• The parties entering an agreement should be competent to contract. No minor person or insane person can enter a contract.

• A lawful consideration and a lawful object within the agreement.

• Free consent of the parties entering the contract.

• The agreement shall not be declared void by the law.

Here we’ll focus on one essential of a legitimate contract that’s Free Consent and its importance in contract law.

Also Read: Essentials of a Valid Contract 

What is free consent under Contract Law?

For a contract to be valid, the consent of the parties must be free and genuine. The principle followed in making a contract valid says the parties entering the contract must mean an equivalent thing within the same sense. The parties to the contract must have a similar understanding regarding the topic of the contract.

Only consent isn’t enough for a contract to be enforceable. The consent given must be free and voluntary from all the forces. Section 14 of the Indian Contract Act defines the concept of Free Consent. The consent free from Coercion, Undue Influence, Fraud, Misrepresentation, or Mistake.

Free consent in a contract is said to be duly given when it’s not under the existence of any kind of coercion, undue influence, fraud, misrepresentation, or mistake.

This principle aims to make sure that the judgment of the parties while entering the contract wasn’t ambiguous. Therefore, the consent was given under:

(i) coercion, or

(ii) undue influence, or

(iii) fraud, or

(iv) misrepresentation or

(v) the mistake

has the potential to invalidate the contract.

The consent given by a party would be invalid if:

  1. Coercion– If consent is under Coercion. ‘Coercion’ is that the act of committing, or threatening to commit, any act forbidden by the Indian penal code, or the unlawful detaining, or threatening to detain, any property, to the bias of a person desiring to cause a person to enter an agreement.”
  2. Undue Influence– When the parties to the contract are in relationships in such a way that one party can dominate the will of the other and uses the unfair advantage so gain or to get the consent of the other party, then the consent is said to have been obtained by undue influence.
  3. Fraud– Consent is not free when a person gets it by using means of fraud.
  4. Misrepresentation– When consent was obtained through misrepresentation, it becomes voidable at the option of the party whose consent was so obtained.
  5. Mistake– When one party has given its consent to the contract under some kind of misunderstanding then the consent is said to be given by mistake.


Free Consent is important to form an agreement with a legitimate contract. We cannot stress the importance of free consent enough. The consent of the parties to the contract must be free and voluntary. The person giving consent shall not be under any quite pressure or delusions.

Also Read: Types of Contracts 

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