Short Note on Contract Law

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Q. What is a general offer? How is a contract created through general offer? Refer to leading cases. An offer may be made to the world at large. Such an offer is a general offer. However, a contract is not done with the whole world but only with the person who comes forward and accepts the offer. The acceptance might be express or implied. As per Anson, "An offer need not be made to an asertained person, but no contract can arise until it is accepted by an ascertained person".

Case of Carllil vs Cabolic Smoke Ball Company.

Creation of the contract - If the person performs the conditions of the offer. Thus, a person who finds a lost dog fulfills the condition of the prize money and thus a contract with the owner of the dog is created.

General Offer of Continuing Nature - Some offers such as finding a lost object close when it is accepted by the first person. However, some offers, such as in the Carllil case, it can be accepted by any number of persons until the closing date of offer or until it is retracted. Q. Describe the law relating to communication of proposals, their acceptance and their revocation.

Section 2(a) of Indian Contract Act 1972 says that when a person signifies his willingness to do or to abstain from doing something to another, with a view to obtaining the assent of that another, he is said to make a proposal. Further, section 2(b) says that when the person to whom the proposal is made signifies his assent, the proposal is said to be accepted. The important point to note here is that the party making the proposal or the party accepting the proposal must "signify" their willingness or assent to the other party. Thus, a promise cannot come into existence unless the willingness or assent is communicated to the other party. Further, even the revocation, if any, must be communicated to the other party for it to take effect. Therefore, communication is the most critical aspect in the making of a contract.

Communication

Section 3 defines how a communication, acceptance, or revocation can be signified: The communication, acceptance, and revocation are deemed to be made by an 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. Thus, a proposal may be made by any way, which has the effect of laying before another person his willingness to do nor not do something. The acceptance can be signified similarly. Section 9 specifies that a promise (i.e. a proposal and its acceptance) can be formed either by words, written or oral, is which case it is called express or by action, in which case it is called implied. In the case of Haji Mohd Ishaq vs Mohd Iqbal SCC 1978, the defendants accepted the goods supplied by the plaintiff through a go between man and also paid part of the price. It was held that the defendants were liable to pay the remaining balance because the proposal and its acceptance were signified by their actions.

Section 4 specifies when a communication is complete:
Communication of a proposal is complete when it comes to the knowledge of the party to whom the proposal is made. For example, if A sends a proposal in the mail to B and if the mail is lost, it can be held that the communication of the proposal is not complete. In the case of Lalman vs Gauridatta 1913, it was held that the reward for the missing child cannot be claimed by a person who traced the child without any knowledge of the announcement. There was no contract between the two in the first place because the proposal never came to the knowledge of the person who found the child and thus he could never accept it. •Communication of the acceptance is complete, as against the promisor, when it is put in course of transmission to the promisor so as to be out of the power of the acceptor, as against the acceptor, when it comes to the knowledge of the promisor. For example, as soon as B...
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