Essential elements of acceptance

Essential elements of acceptance

Definition of Acceptance

As mentioned in the  Indian Contract Act 1872 defines acceptance in Section 2 (b) as “When the person to whom the proposal has been made signifies his assent thereto, the offer is claimed to be accepted. Thus the proposal when accepted becomes a promise.”

Therefore once a suggestion is accepted it can’t be revoked because it’s become a promise which creates a legal obligation between the parties.

Example ­Anita offers to shop for Priya’s car for Rs.10 lakhs and Priya accepts such a suggestion . Now, this became a promise.

Essentials of a legitimate acceptance

Section 7 of The Indian Contract Act,1872 lays down two essentials of a legitimate acceptance.

(1) Must be unconditional and absolute

Acceptance must be unconditional and absolute. There can’t be conditional acceptance, that might amount to a counteroffer which nullifies the first offer.

allow us to see an example. Anita offers to sell his cycle to B for 2000/­. Bhumika says he accepts if Anita will sell it for 1500/­. This doesn’t amount to the offer being accepted, it’ll count as a counter offer.

Also, it must be expressed during a prescribed manner. If no such prescribed manner is described then it must be expressed within the normal and reasonable manner, i.e. because it would be within the normal course of business. Implied acceptance also can tend through some conduct, act, etc.

However, the law doesn’t allow silence to be a sort of acceptance. Therefore the offeror cannot say if no answer is received the offer are going to be deemed as accepted.

(2) Must be expressed in some reasonable manner

If the offeror doesn’t describe any prescribed manner then it must be expressed in the normal and reasonable manner, i.e. because it would be in the normal course of business.

3] Acceptance must be communicated

For a proposal to become a contract, the acceptance of such a proposal must be communicated to the promisor. The communication must take place in  prescribed form, or any such form within normal course of business if no specific form has been prescribed.

Further, when the offeree accepts the proposal, he must have known that a suggestion was made. He cannot communicate acceptance without knowledge of the offer.

So when A offers to provide B with goods, and B is agreeable to all or any the terms. He writes a letter to simply  accept the offer but failed to post the letter as  the acceptance isn’t communicated, it’s not valid.

4] It must be within the prescribed mode

Acceptance of the offer must be within the prescribed manner as communicated by the offeror. If no such manner is prescribed, it must be during a reasonable manner that might be used within the normal course of business.

But if the offeror doesn’t enforce the way after the offer has been accepted in another manner, it’ll be presumed he has consented to such acceptance.

So X offers to sell his farm to Y for ten lakhs. He asks Y to speak his answer via post. Y e­mails X accepting his offer. Now X can ask Y to send the solution through the prescribed manner. But if Xfails to try to do so, it means he has accepted the acceptance of Y and a promise is formed .

Difference between an acceptance and a counter offer

A counter offer is an offeree’s new offer that varies the terms of the first offer and thus , constitutes a rejection of the first offer. In John Hancock Mutual life assurance Co. v. Dietlin(1964), an acceptance which is upon the condition or with a limitation may be a counter offer and requires acceptance by the first offeror before a contractual relationship can exist.

In Ardente v. Horan(1976), the defendants offered to sell their house to the Plaintiff who agreed to shop for the house but he requested that certain furniture and fixtures should also accompany the property. The Defendants refused to sell their furniture and fixtures along side the house and returned the unsigned agreement also because the Plaintiff’s deposit. The Plaintiff sued for performance . it had been held that a legitimate contract wasn’t formed because the defendants never accepted the counteroffer. A contract is taken into account valid when the acceptance is definite and unequivocal, conditional acceptances  shall be construed as counter­offers.

Case Laws

(1) In L’Estrange v Graucob (1934)

A buyer signed an agreement for the acquisition of a cigarette slot machine without reading its terms. one among the terms excluded liability for all types of defects within the machine. The machine supplied was defective but the court held that the supplier wasn’t liable.

(2)In Lalman Shukla vs Gauri Dutt(1913)

The plaintiff was in defendants service as a Munim. The defendant’s nephew absconded and therefore the plaintiff visited find the missing boy. within theplaintiff’s absence, the defendant issued handbills, offering a gift of Rs 501 to anyone who might find the boy. The plaintiff traced him and claimed the reward. The plaintiff didn’t know of the handbills when he found the boy. The court held that the plaintiff wasn’t entitled to a gift .


Offer and acceptance analysis may be a traditional approach in jurisprudence . A suggestion is a sign by one person to a different of their willingness to contract on certain terms . A contract is then formed if there’s an express or implied agreement. A contract is claimed to return into existence when acceptance of a suggestion has been communicated to the offeror by the offeree. The communication of a suggestion is complete when it involves the knowledge of the person to whom the offer is formed and therefore the communication of an acceptance is complete when the acceptance is put during a course of transmission .Therefore, Offer and acceptance is that the essential elements of a contract and in either case, it should be done out of one’s discretion and with an intention to enter into a legally binding agreement.

Author: Ananya Kashyap,
Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur/ 1 year

Leave a Comment