CHAPTER I OF THE COMMUNICATION, ACCEPTANCE AND REVOCATION OF PROPOSALS 3. Communication, acceptance and revocation of proposals.

The communication of proposals, the acceptance of proposals, and the revocation of proposals and acceptances, respectively, are deemed to be made by any act or omission of the party proposing, accepting or revoking, by which he intends to communicate such proposal, acceptance or revocation, or which has the effect of communicating it. COMMENTS What is communication?---As the words of this section stand it would seem that some sort of communication of a proposal, etc., is made by an act which is intended to communicate it, but in fact has not that effect, and that such an inchoate communication fails to have legal effect only because the specific provisions of S. 4 prevent it from being complete. It would seem both simpler and more rational to say that an act intended to communicate a proposal, etc., but failing to do so, is not a communication at all. To get this sense from the section before us we should have to read "and" for "or" in the last clause. There are not any corresponding words in the Commissioners’ draft. It is matter of the commonest experience that the communication of intentions may be effectually made in many other ways besides written, spoken, or signalled words. For example, delivery of goods by their owner to a man who has offered to buy them for a certain price will be understood by every one, unless there be some indication to the contrary, to signify acceptance of that offer. No words are needed, again, to explain the intent with which a man steps into a ferryboat or a tramcar, or drops a coin into an automatic machine. It is also possible for parties to hold communication by means of prearranged signs not being any form of cipher or secret writing, and not having in themselves any commonly understood meaning. This does not often occur in matters of business. Means of communication which a man has prescribed or authorised are generally taken as against him to be sufficient. Otherwise an unexecuted intention to communicate something, or even an unsuccessful attempt, cannot be treated as amounting to a communication; much less can a mere mental act of assent have such an effect in any case. Communication of special conditions.---In recent times there has been a series of cases in which the first question is whether the proposal of special terms has been effectually communicated. This arises where a contract for the conveyance of a passenger, or for the carriage or custody of goods, for reward, is made by the delivery to the passenger or owner of a ticket containing or referring to special conditions limiting the undertaker's liability, and nothing more is done to call attention to those conditions. If the defendant has established that the document was contractual, he must further prove that he did what was reasonably sufficient to give the plaintiff notice of the conditions. This is a question of fact. It has been held that there is sufficient notice if the face of railway ticket refers to conditions on the back, which are not expressly reproduced, but incorporated by a reference to the time-tables of the railway company; But the passenger is not bound by a purported exemption from liability, if the ticket is printed in such a way, or delivered to him in such a state, as not to give reasonable notice on the face of it that it does embody some special conditions. In determining these questions the class of persons to whom the special conditions are offered, and the degree of intelligence to be expected of them, may properly be taken into account. The plaintiff in one case purchased of the defendant company a ticket by steamer, which was in the French language. Towards the top of the ticket were words to the effect that "this ticket in order to be available, must be signed by the passenger to whom it is delivered." At the foot of the ticket there was an intimation in red letters that the ticket was issued subject to the conditions printed on the back. One of those conditions was that the company incurred no liability for any damage which the luggage might sustain. The vessel was wrecked by the fault of the company's servants, and the plaintiff's baggage was lost. The plaintiff sued the defendant company for damages. The ticket was not signed by him, and he stated that he did not understand the French language, and that the conditions of the ticket had not been explained to him. It was held that the plaintiff had reasonable notice of the conditions, and that it was his own fault if he did not make himself acquainted with them. Incorporation of prospectus in a policy of assurance.--. The question of the effect to be given to the prospectus of a company which was incorporated by reference in a policy of life assurance arose some time ago in a Madras case in connection with the onus of proof of age of the assured. In the course of the judgment, Bhashyam Ayyangar J., said: "As regards the effect to be given to the prospectus as a part of the contract of insurance, I think it will have the same effect as if it had been reproduced in the policy itself, and it is quite unnecessary to prove that the prospectus had been read by the assured or that it was specially brought to his notice by the company apart from the reference made to it in the policy itself. A policy of insurance being a contract entered into between the insurers and the assured, and the terms of such contract resting entirely upon the contract itself, and not in the main or even in part upon the common law or upon the statute, the assured, who makes the proposal, enters into the contract, and signs the policy, has in the very nature of things notice that the policy contains all the terms and conditions of the contract." The learned Judge proceeded to cite and rely on Watkins v. Rymull. Ayyangar J. concluded that the signatory was bound.

failed to inform the Company about the injury suffered and died soon afterwards. as against the proposer. in fact. The communication of a revocation is complete. was not communicated by the Municipal Committee to the plaintiff and was subsequently revoked. as against the acceptor. where the defendant has signed a document. proposes. as the signatory was in any case held liable. A Municipal Committee invited tenders for leasing out certain premises. If a person makes a representation by which he induces another to take a particular course and the circumstances are afterwards altered to the knowledge of the party making the representation. Art. by letter. Formation of contract---Bidder giving lowest bid but same not accepted---Authority having reserved right under clause 9 of invitation of Tender to accept lowest or any other tender---Bidder. the alternation of those circumstances and the Court will not hold the party to whom the representation has been made. or it is a case of non est factum. (b) B.O. and are so altered that the alteration of the circumstances may affect the course of conduct which may be pursued by the party to whom the representation is made. of 1981). however. Illustrations (a) A. He. Contract---Acceptance---Communications referred to not equivalent to acceptance---No reliance in absence of written communication. when it is put in a course of transmission to him. Proposal made on basis of certain representations---Facts changing before acceptance of proposal---Such facts suppressed--Party accepting proposal not bound by contract. The communication of a proposal is complete when it comes to the knowledge of the person to whom it is made. should have been sharply distinguished from the ticket cases. Such acceptance. In these circumstances. Terms and conditions on the back of the contract---Referred to in the contract as binding---If binding on the parties. Communication when complete. The Insurance Company in the said letter specifically stated in accepting the proposal that it retained the right of declining the proposal and any policy which may be issued on the premium being paid would be invalid if the person insured in the meantime had suffered from any illness or injury unless the Company was informed of the same. but not to the knowledge of the party to whom the representation is made. bound. to sell a house to B. when it comes to his knowledge. as against the person to whom it is made. Insurance policy accepted by Company on representation that assured has not suffered any injury---Injury suffered by assured after proposal but before its acceptance not disclosed to insurance company---Insurance Company not bound by contract of insurance. The communication of the proposal is complete when B.I. so as to be out of the power of the person who makes it. The Communication of an acceptance is complete. L' Estrange v. when it comes to the knowledge of the proposer. unless there has been some misrepresentation. Held: There is no legal basis for the proposition that communication of acceptance is not communicated due to the negligence of the promisee. unless such communication has been made. An insurance company issued a letter of acceptance and a risk receipt accepting the proposed insurance policy covering the life of a person. 4. can be placed on oral testimony---Plaintiff failing to establish contract for sale---Judgment and decree of trial Court holding that there existed a binding contract between parties set aside. Held: That the contention that the terms and conditions printed at the back of the contract were not binding is untenable because reference to them was unmistakably made on the face of the document.Although it would not affect the decision. it is the imperative duty of the party who had made the representation to communicate to the party to whom the representation has been made. a situation such as this. The Chairman allegedly accepted the offer of the plaintiff being the highest offer and passed orders on the file for delivery of possession to him. when it is put into a course of transmission to the person to whom it is made. as against . Graucob. The communication of the acceptance is complete. no vested right to contract in circumstances---Provisional Constitution Order (P.'s proposal by a letter sent by post. acquired held. a signatory is bound. it was held that the contract of insurance concluded had become void and ineffective and no amount could be recovered from the insurance company. receives the letter. at a certain price. Terms and conditions were printed at the back of the contract and it was provided that they were binding on the parties. however. The person insured had in the meantime. accepts A. suffered an accident and injured one of the toes of his left foot which subsequently became gangrenous. Acceptance of tender not communicated to promisor---Acceptance subsequently revoked---Contract cannot be enforced---Negligence of promisee or his employees in not communicating acceptance immaterial. so as to be out of the power of the acceptor. or his employee or agents. 9. as against the person who makes it. held.

is governed by the terms of the statute. B. as against B. however. for reasons of convenience. when it reaches him. it says at most that he must be deemed to have been aware of their despatch. and even in so far as the price of the goods in the present case was payable at Karachi. not reaching respondents---Held: Mere transmission of acceptance to result in binding contract---Held further: Contract would be complete and binding on respondents immediately after posting of acceptance. when B. The suit on a breach of contract can be filed at any place where the contract should have been performed in the whole or in part. or in due course. or unless the acceptor sends a revocation as provided for by the latter part of the section and explained by illustration (c). or meant it to be an implied exception. the receiver shall be bound and the sender not.'s revocation is complete as against B. revokes his acceptance by telegram. though not certainly. Jurisdiction---Case of breach of contract---Where may be tried. It has done this. as shown by the illustrations to meet the questions raised by the formation of agreements between parties at a distance. and that accordingly it becomes a promise on which the acceptor can sue. 5) that for a certain time. while the acceptance is on its way. is not expressly dealt with. Where the Governor decided to appoint a certain person to a particular post on the basis of contract. Whether a proposal has or has not come to the knowledge of the person to whom it was made is purely a question of fact. a binding contract appears to be formed by a letter of acceptance despatched in the usual way. Statutory consents. the Karachi Courts would have jurisdiction to entertain the suit. receives it. The rest of the section is intended. the total result. The proposal becomes a promise before it is certain that there is any consideration for it.. is in accordance with the existing English authorities. on the ground that the want of any final consent between the parties (see S. This last qualification is probably. and even in so far as the price of the goods in the present case was payable at Karachi. for example. for he cannot say that the acceptance has not been communicated to him and there is no difference between having the communication of a promise and having the promise itself. but failing to reach him. the sale of goods despatched at the proposer's request without previous negotiation. even if it does not arrive at all. the Karachi Courts would have jurisdiction to entertain the suit.A. and.. though never revoked. when the telegram is dispatched. Contract of service with public servant---Direction of Government to appoint sufficient for completion of contract---Determination of pay and conditions of service irrelevant. the failure of consideration may supply such a reason in the case proposed. in case of difference. Apart from the question of a possible revocation. unless some further reasons can be found why it should not. from the common law rule which requires the promise and the consideration to be simultaneous. It seems uncertain whether the framers of the Act really omitted to consider the case of an acceptance not arriving at all. It is complete as against B. when the letter is posted. on the words of the Act. Consequently. not by this or the following section. Jurisdiction---Case of breach of contract---Where may be tried. when the letter is received by A. Those authorities. and revocations thereof.. If the consideration on the acceptor's part was not promise but performance. B. because the latter can be ascertained later on. Acceptor sent through post its acceptance of bids of proposer but proposer did not receive acceptance and not paid balance amount so as to face cancellation of concluded sale---Whether acceptance of offer transmitted to proposer through post created a binding contract---Late-receipt or non-receipt of acceptance by proposer and its failure to pay balance payment---Effect---Contract relating to immovable property---Time not essence of contract. No difficulty arises on the first paragraph. . unless the proposal was expressly made conditional on the actual receipt of an acceptance within a prescribed time. are of later date than or Act. where the agreement is to consist in mutual promises. when the telegram is despatched. The revocation is complete as against A. The case of an acceptance being "put in a course of transmission to" the proposer. COMMENTS Agreement between parties at a distance.---The validity of consents required by special statutory provisions. 10) would prevent the formation of a contract. the contract of service is complete and it cannot be said that the determination of his salary and conditions of service is necessary before the contract can be said to be complete. This can be regarded only as a deliberate and rather large departure. It seems to result from the language of the second paragraph that the proposer must be deemed to have received the acceptance at the moment when it was despatched so as to be "out of the power of the acceptor". and in 1872 The current of opinion was rather the other way. No such departure has been found necessary in England. as regards acceptance by enacting (in combination with S. and as against A. The suit on a breach of contract can be filed at any place where the contract should have been performed in the Whole or in part. it would seem that the proposer cannot say he has not received that consideration. a departure from English law. Contract---Offer---Acceptance of---Communication of---Appellant signifying its acceptance to offer made by respondents---Such acceptance. namely. The Act certainly does not say that the intending purchaser must be deemed to have received goods which have never arrived. or how otherwise. But if the consideration on the acceptor's part was a promise. (c) A revokes his proposal by telegram.

Sale by Auction. but the Court held for D. their lordships held that the condition was a condition precedent. bank'. B. Illustrations A proposes. 2). D.'s bills. still within the six weeks correcting the error in his first letter and accepting the terms originally proposed by Z. was notified of X's acceptance of his bid 'subject to the approval and orders of the special agent V'. since A's first acceptance was insufficient. A writes again. liable to be defeated by V's failure to approve. and "every bidding is nothing more than an offer on one side. A within that time writes Z a letter purporting to accept. it has been held that where a bid has. relying on S. fixes a limit in time beyond which his liability cannot extend" Z offers to take A's house on certain terms. approved. an answer to be given within six weeks. may revoke his acceptance at any time before or at the moment when the letter communicating it reaches A but not afterwards. and that any words of promise to that effect can operate only for the benefit of the proposer and as a warning that an acceptance after the specified time will be too late (S.---The liberty of revoking an offer before acceptance is well shown in the case of a sale by auction. The decision was followed and property was knocked down to P.--. but it seems that such a condition is inoperative in law for a one-sided declaration cannot alter the bidder's rights under the general law. which may be discounted by B at A's request. but not afterwards. Such is undoubtedly the rule of the Common Law. been conditionally accepted. however. but was not communicated to D.5. but if V should not approve the contract was to be at an end. below). A may revoke it at any time. the highest bidder at an auction. even if he could be supposed to assent by attending the sale with notice of the conditions. which is to terminate upon the occurrence of some event. the due payment of M. a bidder for a piece of land. V did approve. It is a resolutive condition. for had the condition been a condition subsequent. which prevents the existence of any obligation until the condition is satisfied. 1. once when the conditional acceptance was given and again when the condition was fulfilled. justify a local government in prescribing. In the 1916 bench decision. P sought to eject D. 7 sub-s. The bank passed a resolution accepting the bid. A statutory power to make rules for the conduct of departmental business will. A proposal may be revoked at any time before the communication of its acceptance is complete as against the proposer. there would have been a binding contract the moment D's bid was accepted. but. etc. but rescinded it before it was communicated to P. but in fact containing a material variation of the terms (see S. and the proposal was no longer open at the date of the second. Yet the court clearly decided that there was no binding agreement at any rate until V. In two Madras cases.D. subject to his obligations as to any bills already discounted. on the ground that the contract was complete on the fulfillment of the condition subsequent. to sell his house to B. the special agent. that a tender shall not be withdrawn before acceptance or refusal. The Court nevertheless gave specific performance in favour of P. . and the land was sold by X to P. "The promise" or rather offer" to repay for twelve months creates no additional liability on the guarantor." Hence a bidder may withdraw his bid at any moment before the fall of the hammer. and such a promise is unenforceable. nor is there any consideration for his assenting to it. for twelve months. This is not a binding promise. In other words. but not afterwards. B accepts the proposal by a letter sent by post. It is common to insert in conditions of sale a proviso that biddings shall not be retracted.It is implied in this section that the proposer of a contact cannot bind himself (unless by a distinct contract made for a distinct consideration) to keep Iris offer open for any definite time. A condition subsequent predicates a pre-existing obligation. An acceptance may be revoked at any time before the communication of the acceptance is complete as against the acceptor. to the knowledge of the bidder. and no communication to the offerer of the absolute acceptance is necessary. Here the owner of each lot put up for sale makes the auctioneer his agent to invite offers for it. among the conditions of tenders for public service. which is not binding on either side till it is assented to. 6. In a bench decision. but not afterwards. Revocation of proposals and acceptances. No contract is formed between Z and A. 4. Z then withdraws his offer. on the ground that communication of acceptance twice was not needed. sub-s. 'subject to the approval of the C. Appropriate wording to impose a condition subsequent would have been to the effect that the bid was accepted. A may revoke his proposal at any time before or at the moment when B posts his letter of acceptance. and a document embodying his approval was drawn up. as distinct from a suspensive condition or condition precedent. the agreement is complete once the condition has been fulfilled. by a letter sent by post. on the contrary. Similarly a proposal to sell goods allowing eight days' time for acceptance may be revoked within the eight days unless the promise to keep the offer open was supported by consideration. COMMENTS Revocation of Offers. It is submitted that these two cases were wrongly decided. The reason is that an undertaking to keep the offer open for a certain time is a promise without consideration. the Court misunderstood the nature of a condition subsequent. but a standing proposal which becomes a promise or series of promises as and when B discounts bills on the faith of it. A gives an undertaking to B to guarantee.

or insanity of the proposer. the offeror can withdraw at any moment until absolute acceptance has taken place. or in any quantity which may be required. is in force. or such part as they think fit to any other printer. B may be allowed by the Court to resile from the agreement. There is no halfway house between the two. that he had no ground of action. there is a good consideration for a promise by A to supply such coal as B may order on the specified terms and up to the specified extent. Oaths Act. In the meantime. 8. is provisional where the offeree has no authority to accept the bid. bank respectively had been communicated. there is an undertaking on the part of B not to send orders for coal (or whatever the goods in question may be) to any other person than A during a specified time. or merely the invitation of proposals. the offeror cannot withdraw. The manner of revoking a proposal and of communicating acceptance might be controlled by the terms of agreement. "The contract" does not purport to contain any covenant or obligation of any sort on the part of the Crown. revoke the proposal. Revocation how made. Standing offers.D. 8 provides an exception. at any rate until V or the C. but a mere continuing offer which may be accepted by B from time to time by ordering goods upon the terms of the offer. and A can withdraw the offer. This reasoning is. and under section 7 the acceptance of a proposal must be absolute and unqualified. each order given by B is tin acceptance of the offer. if the fact of his death or insanity comes to the knowledge of the acceptor before acceptance. The respondent undertakes to print certain public documents at certain specified rates.---It has been held that if A offers to be bound by a special oath taken by B. and that there was no contract concluded until the approval of V and the C. But the contract imposes no obligation on the Crown to pay the respondent for work not given to him for execution. and B accepts the offer. although the offeree is not finally bound. or. A printer covenanted to execute for the Government of the Province. bank respectively. B says to A.It is submitted that in both cases there was a condition precedent." Advertisements of rewards and other so-called "general offers" have also raised questions whether particular acts were proposals of a contract capable of being promises by acceptance. where French-Canadian law. The general rule under S. nor is there anything in it to prevent the Government from giving the whole of the work. A cannot resile from the agreement Having regard. In the course of the same year the Lieutenant-Governor cancelled the agreement. If." it does not constitute an acceptance of the proposal. "I agree. erroneous. during a term of eight years. The same principle was affirmed by the Privy Council on an appeal from the Province of Quebec. A proposal is revoked:--(1) by the communication of notice of revocation by the proposer to the other party.D. by the lapse of a reasonable time. . 6. the offeror can withdraw his bid. If an acceptance is conditional.D. yet it was necessary that the offer should have been accepted at least ultimately in an absolute and unqualified manner. with respect. It seems that the offeror gave no such express or implied dispensation in either of the two Madras cases. is not a contract unless B binds himself to take some certain quantity. or (4) by the death. reversing the judgment below. to the provisions of the Oaths Act. But where the offeree has full power to accept the offer. without communication of the acceptance. This will be more conveniently dealt with under S. An acceptance can take place only by B sending an order to A. I shall supply it to you for a period of twelve months at a particular rate. 4 is that communication is required. however. S. and it was ultimately held. if no time is so prescribed.A writing whereby A agrees to supply coal to B at certain prices and up to a stated quantity. The printer sued the Crown by petition of right. to use the phraseology of the Act. now codified. in his opinion. yet gives only a qualified acceptance. (2) by the lapse of the time prescribed in such proposal for its acceptance. An acceptance. In such a case." This is merely a proposal from A to B If. bank respectively gives its approval. at any time before its acceptance by an order from B. the only question remaining for determination is whether communication of this approval to the offeror is necessary before the agreement becomes binding. for a period of twelve months. and that the bidder could have retracted his offer before the final acceptance by V and the C. Once it is established that there is no agreement binding on either party. There is nothing in the contract binding the Government to give to the respondent all or any of the printing work referred to in the contract. or. An acceptance is either absolute or conditional. (3) by the failure of the acceptor to fulfill a condition precedent to acceptance. but this applies where the offeror expressly or implicity dispenses with the requirement of express communication. the printing and binding of certain public documents on certain terms expressed in a schedule. Under section 5 of Contract Act a proposal may be revoked at any time before the communication of its acceptance is complete as against the proposer. Such a transaction may be reduced to a statement by the intending vendor in this form: "If you will send me orders for coal.--. Revocation of proposal---When permissible---Governed by conditions of contract. he is a mere conduit-pipe. however. in reply to such a proposal. For all work given to him on the footing of the contract the Government was undoubtedly bound to pay according to the agreed tariff.

and on the other hand it does not seem that supervening insanity of the proposer operates as a revocation at all. 3.As Lord Justice James said "prima facie every contract is permanent and irrevocable. The agreement before him was an agreement for running powers between two railway companies. since the contract of a lunatic is only voidable and not void. 7. the fact that an obligation cannot be specifically performed is consistent with the promisor being bound to pay damages for his default. but if he fails to do so. COMMENTS . If the fact amounts to a refusal. or both acts and promises. and before that proposal is answered agrees to sell it to another. and a party who. as the consideration for a promise which he offers. but was to be in some way or other subject to determination". but." without any qualification as to notice. In order to convert a proposal into a promise. the acceptance must:--(1) be absolute and unqualified. This was probably intended to correspond with the law of England. For the proposer cannot be presumed to have intended to contract with a deceased person’s estate. This amounts to a tacit refusal. with the knowledge of this fact. The reasons given for the decision have been freely criticized in England.--. and the case cited in our note. the purchaser who first actually accepts has the better right to specific performance. But the principle that an intent to revoke what has once been deliberately uttered will not be lightly presumed or too readily inferred appears to be equally applicable to proposals. though that case actually decided only that if an owner of immovable property makes a proposal to sell it to one man. the proposer may. it is not very easy to see what a condition precedent to acceptance means.--. those of employment. or several acts. and the parties can form a contract only by starting afresh." above). This sub-section does not appear to have been judicially interpreted or indeed to have any very material effect. insist that his proposal shall be accepted in the prescribed manner. Everything required on the acceptor’s part to complete an acceptance would rather seem to be part of the acceptance itself. from which it is reasonably to be implied that it was not intended to be permanent and perpetual. There is nothing in the original context to throw light on them. not communicated by the proposer. and is not within this section. the Act does not explicitly deal with interpretation anywhere. in cases where it is alleged that an option to determine a completed contract is conferred by the terms of the contract itself. unless the proposal prescribes the manner in which it is to be accepted. This is very different from the case of one who accepts a proposal without knowing that the proposer is dead. having made it. and the acceptance is not made in such manner. and the like. Revocation not presumed. The term is not used in this connection in English books. realy belong to the subject of interpretation. then formally tenders an acceptance. and accordingly the proposal is at an end (see notes on S. it is no less a rejection of the original offer. there is no manifest reason for calling it failure to fulfill a condition precedent. (2) be expressed in some usual and reasonable manner.--. Refusal. It would be absurd to hold that a promisor is to go scot-free because by his own action he has reduced the possibilities of his obligation from a higher to a lower level. and the first. (1) appears to make it a condition of revocation being effectual that it shall be communicated by the proposer or (which is the same thing) by his authority. that the property was sold to some one else was such a revocation of the first proposal as in itself made acceptance by the person to whom it was made impossible.--. agency. 5.--. It was not decided (though the Judges seem to have thought) that knowledge. as the decision itself is not of positive authority in India in a matter covered by the terms of the Contract Act. The Lord Justice went on to point out that many contracts. Moreover. his executors have no power to accept it either in England or in India.As to sub-s. "Revocation of offers. Acceptance must be absolute. A man proposing a contract may request either a single act. and not otherwise. and it lies upon a person who says that it is revocable or determinable to show either some expression in the contract itself. A counter-offer proposing different terms has the same effect as a merely negative refusal.The rejection of a proposal by the person to whom it is made is wholly distinct from revocation. If an offer is addressed to a man who dies without having accepted or refused it.The provision made by sub-s. or something in the nature of the contract. it does not seem useful to pursue the discussion here. Condition precedent to acceptance.. he accepts the acceptance. but a few years after the Act was passed the Lords Justices James and Mellish used language apparently involving a different rule. This dictum. If the proposal prescribes a manner in which it is to be accepted. The words (like several other of the less felicitious phrases in the Act) appear to have been borrowed without much reflection from the draft Civil Code of the State of New York.COMMENTS Notice of Revocation. Death or insanity of proposer. changes his mind. are by their nature not expected to be of indefinite duration. within a reasonable time after the acceptance is communicated to him. or a promise or set of promises.Here sub-s. It is a variation from English law. The other party may do something obviously inconsistent with performing some or one of the things requested. 4 is quite clear. where on the one hand it is understood that "the death of either party before acceptance causes an offer to lapse. Acceptance of a proposal which the proposer has made it impossible to fulfill is not necessarily unmeaning or inoperative . completed in 1865 and never adopted in its own State. cannot treat the first offer as still open. Many obligations are from the first incapable of specific performance so far as any power of the Court is concerned.

but only a counter-offer. purporting to confirm the agreement. There may be an express reservation in such words as these: "This agreement is made subject to the preparation and execution of a formal contract". Where there is no precise clause of reservation. If you are willing to have it. rejection of the view of Lord Cairns. on the ground that the parties did not really envisage the incorporation in the contract of any terms other than those already agreed.In exceptional circumstances there may be an unconditional acceptance in terms of a proposal which in fact the parties do not understand in the same sense. would constitute an agreement. may be in effect unconditional. indicated that no binding contract had yet been arrived at between the parties. one of the points being that no other condition was to be incorporated in the agreement to be drawn up by the solicitor.--. can amount to nothing more than a new proposal. It was held that the letter had to be read in a reasonable manner and that it did not preclude the purchaser from putting himself into direct communication with F. or as introducing a condition or qualification which makes it only a stage in a course of negotiation capable of leading. It is not for the acceptor to say that some other mode of acceptance which is not according to the terms of the proposal will do as well. was held to be no acceptance within the meaning of this section. if accepted by the proposer. coupled with an admission that the condition has been satisfied. Here again there is no contract. Therefore. 13. A Bench decision from Calcutta is a clear. it becomes a question of construction whether the parties intended that the terms agreed on should merely be put into form. But where it appears that a complete contract was formed by unqualified acceptance of an offer at a certain date. but not necessarily leading.A proposal must be accepted according to its terms. or whether they should be subject to a new agreement the terms of which are not expressed in detail. for words of acceptance which do not correspond to the proposal actually made arc not realy an acceptance of anything. This is really a case of acceptance with an added condition." being a term not contained in the offer. that an acceptance with a variation is no acceptance. if it stood alone. Here the acceptance is merely apparent.7.000. subsequent negotiations will have no effect unless they amount to a new agreement. write to F at his address. In India it has been laid down. coupled with a final paragraph asking for the documents of title to be sent for investigation.000. as it is frequently called. or some other act is done. and the intending insurer may refuse a tender of the premium if there has meanwhile been any material change in the facts constituting the risk to be insured against. and a safer ground . between the parties or their agents. The agreement concluded with these words: "This is a provisional agreement until a fully legalised agreement drawn up by a solicitor and embodying all the conditions herewith stated is signed. as these words were on the facts quite meaningless: the offeree had not in mind that any further terms were to be agreed. in accordance with English law as well as with the terms of the Act. to a concluded contract. Sometimes additional words that seem at first sight to make the acceptance conditional arc m. Manner of acceptance [sub-s. This decision may perhaps be doubted. a counter-offer. In a Calcutta case an offer was made in the following terms :---"I intend to sell my house for Rs.--. who claimed that D had agreed to lease certain property to him. it is not universally true that complete acceptance of the proposal makes a binding contract. but with the statement that there shall be no assurance till the first premium is paid. Apparent without real acceptance. and. There P. if the proposer chooses to require that goods shall be delivered at a particular place. D entered into a written agreement to buy P's mushroom farm. 2]. and yet decline to be bound until a formal agreement is signed. the question being in every case whether a particular communication is to be understood as a real and absolute acceptance." No "fully legalised agreement" was ever prepared. On the other hand reference to special conditions not known to the other party. he is not bound to accept delivery tendered at any other place. Again." Instead of writing to F the purchaser sent an agent in :person to F and agreed to purchase the property for Rs. as the only manner in which the acceptance of the offer could be made was by writing to F at his address. will prevent an acceptance from being final. and this must be determined by examination of the whole of a continuous correspondence or negotiation. but was using a high-sounding phrase to which he attached no particular meaning. Thus where an offer was made for the purchase of certain goods which were to be ordered out from Europe. but the acceptance is not obviously unqualified. It will not do to pick out this or that portion which. Such cases are better postponed till we come to S. for one may agree to all the terms of a proposal. The Court held that this term. though tacit. and reciting the terms. might be sufficient evidence of a contract." or the like. So will a reference to future unspecified terms "to be arranged." It was held that there was a binding contract. it is simply a counter-proposal. one of which was that the lessor would make out a good title to the property free from all incumbrances. as distinguished from terms already made part of the proposal. and which neither party is estopped from understanding in his own sense. But an acceptance on condition. and no contract is formed. the offer of a new contract may be annexed to an absolute acceptance so that there is a concluded contract whether the new offer is accepted or not.Certainty of acceptance. an acceptance "free Bombay Harbour and interest. therefore. Although there can be no contract without a complete acceptance of the proposal. more than the expression of what the law implies. also before the Court of Appeal. An acceptance which is in form conditional may also be considered in fact absolute. an offer was accepted "subject to the usual conditions of acceptance. or.The rule of the first sub-section is in itself obviously necessary. The difficulties which occur under this head are difficulties not of principle but of construction. had his solicitor write a letter to D. In such a case the acceptance with a qualification is in its nature a counter-proposal which. 7. which must be accepted by the original promisor before a contract is made.-. It was contended that this was not a valid acceptance. Or a proposal for insurance may be accepted in ail its terms. but of such special importance as to call for separate mention. but the Court held the parties bound. In another case.

seems to be limited to the offer of a promise. an organiser of the defendant insurance company.---The terms of this section are very wide. or to the first person. as the offer of a contract at all. the present section does not expressly dispense with communication in any case. there is not likely to be any other question than what the terms were. an acceptance of an offer made ought to be notified to the person who makes the offer." The most obvious example is where a reward is publicly offered to any person. Acceptance by performing conditions. This has to be read with the provisions as to communication in ss. in an offer made by him to another person.000/-. in any authoritative statement of English law. as A had dispensed with express . Nothing like them occurs in the original draft of the Indian Law Commissioners. so far as known to us. the person who makes the offer may dispense with notice to himself if he thinks it desirable to do so. in its first branch. COMMENTS General Offers. prudent or laudable. nor. 8. as notification of acceptance is required for the benefit of the person who makes the offer. as a rule. So where brokers in Bombay wrote to merchants in Ghaziabad stating their terms of business and the merchants afterwards placed orders with the brokers which were executed by them. throws on the proposer the burden of notifying to the acceptor that an acceptance not in the prescribed manner and form is insufficient. Neglect to answer a business offer is certainly not. no contract was made until the orders given by the brokers were accepted by the merchants and hence the cause of action arose wholly in Bombay. Assent to his terms is a positive act within the other party's discretion. Where the owner of a property says that he will not accept less than Rs." Cp. 2(b)]. to recognise the fact that in the cases in which the offeror invites acceptance by the doing of an act "it is sometimes impossible for the offeree to express his acceptance otherwise than by performance of his part of the contract. A bank's letter with quotations as to particulars of interest on deposits in answer to an enquiry is not an offer but only a quotation of business terms. Accordingly "performance of the conditions of a proposal' seems to be nothing else than doing the act requested by the proposer as the consideration for the promise offered by him. The only previous definition of acceptance in the Act is that a proposal is said to be accepted when the person to whom it is made "signifies his assent thereto" [S. indeed. expressly or impliedly intimates a particular mode of acceptance as sufficient to make the bargain binding. but the next day A died of pneumonia. whether the offer was sufficiently certain or whether it was intended. however. Performance of the conditions of a proposal. as defined by the Act. and I suppose that there can be no doubt that where a person. So far there might have been doubt whether acceptance can ever be binding without communication . in order that the two minds may come together . with a cheque for the premium. There is some authority for construing the terms liberally in favour of a finder. however. and whether they have been satisfied by the claimant.6. and he has no right to presume it. We have already noted on S." corresponds to the general division of proposals into those which offer a promise in exchange for an act or acts and those which offer a promise in exchange for a promise. or the like. As to the objection that to complete the plaintiff's acceptance of the offer there must either be communication to the defendant or some act of a public nature. There may be questions. he does not make an offer. or the acceptance of any consideration for a reciprocal promise which may be offered with a proposal. but after A had been twice medically examined the company cashed the cheque. but merely invites offers. as an ordinary rule of law. The present sub-section. In the absence of illustrations. Here the party claiming the reward has not to prove anything more than that he performed the conditions on which the reward was offered. S. it was held that the first letter was only an invitation to do business. Bowen L. and. it is only necessary for the other person to whom such offer is made to follow the indicated method of acceptance.. It seems. But analogous or seemingly analogous cases may be less simple. one party to a negotiation cannot impose on the other the burden of expressly refusing. N had no authority to receive the cheque as premium. The company denied liability. and he remains bound if he fails to insist on an acceptance such as he required. No previous or subsequent authority for this has been found in the Common Law. with slight verbal alteration. but the Court held that the contract was complete from the moment the cheque was cashed. above. They appear to have been taken from the draft Civil Code of New York. nor does analogy seem to favour it. 7(2). which conditions may or may not include communication by him to the proposer. In the simple case of a reward proposed for something in which the proposer has an obvious interest. Nevertheless it appears. their intended scope is not very clear. that the word proposal. still there is no legal duty to answer at all. who will recover a lost object.procure certain evidence. . 4 and 7. is an acceptance of the proposal. fairly certain that the division of the subject-matter of the section into two branches. This principle was followed in case where A. above. and if the person making the offer expressly or impliedly intimates in his offer that it will be sufficient to act on the proposal without communicating acceptance of it to himself. said "One cannot doubt that.would have been that on the oral acceptance being communicated to the vendor he did not insist upon the proposal being accepted in writing. performance of the condition is a sufficient acceptance without notification. At all events. signed a proposal form of insurance on his life and handed it to N. But there is this clear gloss to be made upon that doctrine. or could reasonably be taken. "performance of the conditions of proposal" and "acceptance of any consideration for a reciprocal promise which may be offered with a proposal. Two weeks later the company wrote to N asking him to make further enquiries regarding A's proposal. or receiving consideration. as when a tradesman sends goods on receiving an order from a customer. 2 (a) and (b).J. that. either an original offer or a counter-offer by saying that he will assume acceptance unless he hears to the contrary.

and in that case (which is exceptional but of some importance) the legal result will not be a contract between the parties. It . that what is offered on conditions must be taken as it is offered. although married. The plaintiff and her husband accordingly lived with Papamma. for it hardly fits the most obvious class of cases.--. Promises. and then the proposer can hold him liable on the universal principle that a man's reasonably apparent intent is taken in law to be his real intent. and she promised that if the plaintiff and her husband would reside with her. that both proposals and acceptances may take place without express words. Acceptance of her terms and compliance with her stipulation were made. the present section of the Act would be logically prior to S. no doubt. Tender for sale of property---Only an offer---No contract unless tender accepted---Even highest tender may be refused. there must be consensus ad idem and in its absence. which may be either express or inferred from the nature and circumstances of the proposal. or else raises an equivalent obligation. In so far as such proposal or acceptance is made otherwise than in words.The second branch of the section as to "acceptance of any consideration. whatever else it is capable of being. but that when only acts are required the communication of their performance may or may not be added as a term of the offer at the will of the proposer. even after parties have signed the contract. though not conveyed in words. and the husband consequently ceased to reside with Papamma. express and implied. and that there was a completed contract which entitled the plaintiff to possession of the village: "The Board is of the opinion accordingly that there has been a completed contract. 1893. namely. Acceptance by receiving consideration.communication of acceptance. constituted a promise which was accepted by the plaintiff. Dissatisfaction arose because it was not transferred to the plaintiff. Acceptance sub silentio---When offeree's silence constitutes acceptance---Where contract is in part. We cannot suppose that the present section is intended to preclude all inquiries of this kind by making every receipt in fact of a thing offered by way of consideration a conclusive acceptance of the proposal.--. The offer for the sale of the property does not give a right to the offerer for its purchase.in 1899. a counter offer can be made suggesting an amendment or novatio and the offeree's silence coupled with subsequent conduct in this regard would amount to acceptance of counter offer. 1893. An implied promise. Papamma accomplished her desire. In October. is not accepted. The plaintiff and her husband thereafter resided with Papamma until Papamma's death . more accurately. Papamma wrote a letter in her own hand to the plaintiff herself stating that the village had been purchased for the appellant and would be transferred to her upon the writer's death. and she obtained the consideration which she had so much at heart. From this point of view. but he did not return. and unless the contract comes into existence mutual rights and obligations of the parties do not arise. but. of an increase in the rate of interest on overdrafts. even if it is the highest. and the receiver keeps them with the intention of buying them. In so far as the proposal or acceptance of any promise is made in words. which he did not answer. the promise is said to be express. Papamma was anxious that the plaintiff. The tender in law is only an offer for the purchase of the property and if the tender of a person. and the words seem more appropriate to gifts or transfers of property than to contracts. It is hard to say with any certainty what particular class or classes of transactions it covers. and afterwards obtaining a further advance.. But a thing which is offered in one right and for one purpose may be taken under a different claim of right and with a different intent. unless indeed the party receiving the thing so conducts himself as to lead the proposer reasonably to conclude that there is an acceptance according to the offer. amounts to giving the promise (whether reciprocal or not) for which it was offered. in the sense of the Act. is a real promise. It has been applied however to the case of a bank's customer receiving notice.This section assumes rather than lays down that which we have already found it needful to mention in the course of the commentary." etc. Papamma sent messages to the husband asking him to return. held that he accepted a consideration offered by the bank within the terms of this section. by compliance with its terms). COMMENTS Express and tacit promises. The use of the word "reciprocal’ is curious. The plaintiff was a grandniece of Papamma. should continue to live with her. Their lordships held that the letter of October. the promise is said to be implied. is rather obscure. At the age of fourteen the plaintiff was married to an ex-zamindar who owned property of considerable value. There has been another somewhat peculiar case before the Privy Council. Perhaps it would now be a safe and more elegant way of stating the law to say that a proposal is in every case accepted by performance of its conditions (or perhaps. A tender only when accepted constitutes a binding contract. as such. After Papamma’s death the plaintiff instituted a suit for a declaration that she was entitled to the village and for possession thereof. and was brought up by her from early age. as where goods are sent on approval. 2(t)]. In 1893 Papamma bought a village in her own name. No doubt the acceptance of an offered consideration. 7. Here the seller need not and commonly does not offer any promise. a wealthy Hindu widow. 9. that communication by the acceptor to the proposer or his authorised agent is necessary when the terms consist of or include a counter-promise (for there is no promise at all without communication). she would make provision for her on a fairly ample scale by the purchase of immovable property for her. and there is therefore no question of a reciprocal promise as defined in the Act IS. It is generally sound principle. for the appellant. he cannot make a grievance of the fact. An advertisement inviting tenders for the sale of property is not an offer but an invitation of an offer. as she stated.

the law conclusively "implied" a promise to pay the debt. below) within the recognised forms of action. if not contrary to the general law or excluded by express agreement. because if no price is named the law does not imply. but that the parties are deemed to have contracted with reference to them. as resulting not from the words used. Such a contract may exist by reason of mercantile usage. a contract at a reasonable price. A tacit promise may be implied from a continuing course of conduct as well as from particular acts. in the case of immovable properties price is of the essence of a contract of sale and unless the price is fixed there is no enforceable contract. 11 (1)of the Partnership Act. Such terms are certainly implied. 68-72. be ancient or universal. as in case of a sale of goods. Sale of immovable property---No price specified---Not enforceable contract. Thus. accordingly. but from a general interpretation of the transaction with reference to the usual understanding of persons entering on like transactions in like circumstances. when they are not inconsistent with the express terms of the incorporating document. Thus an agreement between partners to vary the terms of the partnership contract may "either be express or be implied from a uniform course of dealing" (s.must be distinguished from the promises frequently said in English books to be implied by law. where the parties are presumed to have contracted with tacit reference to some usage well known in the district or in the trade. A term which. But there is a class of cases. it is a question of fact whether their conduct establishes an implied agreement to be bound by those terms. and whatever is prescribed by that usage becomes an additional term of the contract. The language of the section appears to assume that the terms of a contract may be(as undoubtedly they may. The terms of a document can be incorporated by reference. As a general rule. though there might not have been any promise in fact. when the contract refers to that document. It is enough that they are in fact generally observed by persons in the circumstances and condition of the parties. In India most of the cases of this kind which have been reported in the High Courts appear to be on implied contracts to pay interest. by familiar law and practice) partly express and partly implied. They need not. and are not repugnant to the transaction which that document represents. for it is contained in the words of the agreement. in the opinion of the Court. The actual promise "made otherwise than in words" is a matter of fact which in common law practice would be established by the verdict of a jury. results from the true construction of the language used by the parties may be said to be implicit in that language. Questions may arise whether all the terms of another document are incorporated in a contract. which reproduces well-settled English law). though not apparent on the face of them. but has never been executed as a written agreement or expressly assented to by both. Where parties have acted on the terms of an informal document which has passed between them. of considerable importance in England. and sometimes to give the plaintiff the choice of a better form of action. 1932. but in the sense of the present section it is not implied. . if the plaintiff desired to sue for a liquidated sum in the general form of assumpsit instead of in the less convenient form of debt. which were fictions required by the old system of pleading to bring cases of "relations resembling those created by contract" (Ss. but would not have been allowed to find that there was no real promise. The ground on which usages of this kind are enforced is not that they have any intrinsic authority. whereas in the case of the fictitious promise a jury might have to find the facts on which the law proceeded.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.