Explain the Legal Rules Regarding Valid Acceptance. Define Acceptance.


Section 2 (b) of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines acceptance in these words: When one person to whom the proposal is made signifies his assent thereto, the proposal is said to be accepted. A proposal when accepted becomes a promise. In the words of, Sir William Anson, Acceptance is to an offer what a lighted match is to a train of gunpowder. It produces something which cannot be recalled or undone. But the powder may have laid till it has become damp or the man who laid the train may withdraw it before a lighted match stick is set to it.

Similarly, once the offer is accepted it is converted into a binding contract and cannot be revoked. Who can accept? An offer can be accepted only by the offer. If anyone else attempts to accept it, no contract will arise with that person.

Modes of Acceptance: Acceptance may be express or implied. An express acceptance is one which is given by words spoken or written. By implied acceptance we mean an .acceptance which is by performance of some required act.

Legal Rules Regarding a Valid Acceptance

Acceptance must be absolute and unqualified (Section 7): An acceptance to be valid must be absolute and unconditional and according to the exact terms of the offer. The word absolute implies acceptance of the offer into. It should be of the whole of the offer. The offer can not accept a part of its terms which are favorable to him and reject the rest. The acceptance should be unconditional also. This means that accept or should not attach any conditions to the acceptance.

Acceptance must be expressed in the prescribed manner: Acceptance must be made in the prescribed manner. Section 7 (2) states that the acceptance must be expressed in some usual manner, unless the proposal prescribes the manner in which it is to be accepted. If the proposal prescribes a manner in which it is to be accepted, and the acceptance is not made in that manner, the proposer may, within a reasonable time after the acceptance is communicated to him, insist that his proposal should be accepted in the prescribed manner and not otherwise but if he fails to do so, he accepts the acceptance.

Acceptance must be given within the time prescribed or a reasonable time:  To make it legally binding the acceptance must be given either within the period prescribed, and, if no period is specified, within a reasonable time. What is reasonable is in each case depends upon circumstances.

Acceptance must be given before the offer lapses or is revoked: Acceptance must be given before the offer lapses by the expiry of fixed or reasonable period or before it is revoked by the offeror.

An acceptance can never precede on offer: There can be no acceptance of an offer which is not communicated. Similarly performance of conditions of an offer in a general offer without the knowledge of the offer is no acceptance. Acceptance can be given only for an offer which has been communicated.

Acceptance must be communicated by the acceptor: The communication of acceptance may be express or implied. Acceptance should be made known to the offeror. A mere mental acceptance is no acceptance in the eyes of law.

 Silence can not be a mode of acceptance: Offeror can not impose a condition that offeree’s silence would be considered as acceptance. Silence does not normally amount to acceptance.

Acceptance must show an intention that acceptor is willing to fulfill the terms of the offer: A valid contract can arise only when the acceptance is given with the intention of fulfilling the terms of the contract.

Rejected offers can be accepted only, if renewed: Offer once rejected cannot be accepted unless a fresh offer is made.

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