As quoted by Abraham Lincoln, “No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.”
The literal meaning of term consent is asking permission for something or a type of an agreement. Consent is defined in Section 13 of The Indian Contract Act as, “Two or more persons are said to consent when they agree upon the same thing in the same sense.” Free Consent is of the essential element for an agreement to be a contract as defined in the Section 10 of The Indian Contract Act. Free Consent is defined under Section 14 of The Indian Contract Act as, “Consent is said to be free when it is not caused by-
(1) coercion, as defined in section 15, or
(2) undue influence, as defined in section 16, or
(3) fraud, as defined in section 17, or
(4) misrepresentation, as defined in section 18, or
(5) mistake, subject to the provisions of sections 20, 21 and 22.
Consent is said to be so caused when it would not have been given but for the existence of such coercion, undue influence, fraud, misrepresentation or mistake.”
Defining the Factors (Section 15) that affect the validity of a Contract
- Coercion: In simple words, Coercion is basically an act of committing, threatening to commit or any act forbidden by Indian Penal Code. Any unlawful act performed so as to make a person confirm his agreement and enter into a Contract is also considered as Coercion.
- Undue Influence: To consider a Contract to be induced by Undue Influence it is important to prove the domination of one party over the will of another party involved in the contract by any means such as mental distress, relations involving dominancy, using an authority to create the influence etc.
- Fraud: Fraud basically means any of the acts committed by a party to contract as defined in Section 17 clauses (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) .
- Misrepresentation: A Misrepresentation is an untrue statement made by one party involved in the contract which influences or affects the decision of the other party involved in the Contract. Misrepresentation is very beautifully and clearly explained in the Section 18 of The Indian Contract Act by deducing all the scenarios that result into Misrepresentation.
- Mistake: The interpretation of Mistake is done in three different ways as in Sections 20, 21 and 22 respectively. The interpretation or resulting nature of the contract is governed by facts essential for the Contract.
The main Facts Essential for an Agreement are:
- Identity of the Parties
- Nature and Identity of the Subject Matter of the contract
- The Nature and Content of the promise
The meeting of similar intentions of parties forming a contract is defined in the phrase, “Consensus Ad Idem”. The phrase means that the parties have had a meeting of their minds. What the phrase means to say is that meeting of mindsthat is common understanding should be there between the parties before entering into a contract to make it enforceable. To sum up , the phrase basically conveys that without Consent no Real contract is possible. Hence, consent is one of the main elements of an enforceable Contract.