Indian Contract Act
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Types Of Offer Under Indian Contract Act, 1872

Introduction

In a contract, one person offers to provide a good or service, and another person accepts that shows acceptance for the offer. For an agreement to be called a contract, a proposal should be made, and there should be either acceptance or denial. Some essentials of an offer 

For an offer to be valid, the offer must have the following elements.

  • The acceptance of the offer must lead to creating a legal association and legal obligation if the terms of the offer are not fulfilled. 
  • The conditions should not be ambiguous. 
  • The offer can have some condition attached to it.
  • The offer should be disclosed to the offered. 
  • The offer can be either spoken through words or can be communicated through gestures or conduct.

Types of Offers

There are many types of offers that are given under the Indian Contract Act, which are:

General Offer

If an offer is made to the public and anyone can either accept or deny the offer, it is known as General Offer. This offer can be accepted by any person who thinks that he/she can fulfil the conditions in the contract. If more than one person accepts the offer, then the contract will be made in the name equivalent number of people. For example, if someone has placed an advertisement saying that whoever returns the stolen bag will get a reward, this can be termed as a general contractor as it is open for everyone, and if anyone finds the stolen bag, he/she will get the reward. 

The concept of General Offer came to light in the case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball co. in this case; the defendant was a company who is an advertisement promised to pay 100 pounds to the person who becomes ill with influenza or any other illness caused by cold after taking medicine developed by that company while following the proper guideline. They also transferred 100 pounds to the Alliance Bank to show their trustworthiness. This medicine was taken by a consumer named Mrs Carlill, but she became sick with influenza even after that. She sued the company for the reward. The company defended their claim by arguing that the offer was not made to get in a contract with someone but was made to boost the sale. The company also argued that the offer required to be presented to a specific person rather than to the public, so they are not required to honour the contract. The court held that these offers could be called general offers and if anyone completes the terms of the contract, will be considered to have given their acceptance. The court also said that the company’s money transferred to the bank proves that they were willing to enter into a contract. Mrs Carlill was awarded the money.

Express and Implied Offer

Under section 9 of the Indian Contract Act, express and implied offer is defined. It states that when an offer is made in words will be called an express offer, and if the offer is made otherwise, then word will be called implied offer. For example, if someone takes the bus or hires a taxi, there is an implied offer to pay the fare till the desired destination arrives.

 Types Of Offer Under Indian Contract Act, 1872

In Williams v. Carwardine, there was a notice issued to the public that a reward is offered to the person who gives information about an assailant wanted for murder. The plaintiff provided such information and stated that she is providing information to “ease her conscience”. At that moment, she did not try to claim a reward, but later she changed her mind and filed a suit praying for the reward. The court held that since there was a reward and she was aware of such reward, she should get the claim as a valid contract. 

 Specific offer

This type of offer can be agreed upon by a specific person or group of persons. Specific offer can only be accepted by that person to whom it was made. For example, if Ram wants to buy a pen from Shyam for Rs. 50, then only Shyam can agree to that offer. 

Cross offer

This is a type of offer where the person who offers to sell the product and the person who wants to purchase the product send each other the same offer without knowing each other’s offer. For example, Ram offered to Shyam to sell his car for Rs 2 lakh and send it. On the same day, Shyam also sends Ram for purchasing his car for Rs. 2 lakh. Both Ram and Shyam gave offers to each other without knowing the offer made by each other. In such a case, no contract will be made. 

This was further explained in the case of Tinn v. Hoffman; the defendant offered to sell 800 tons of iron at 69s per ton to the petitioner. The petitioner also made an offer to purchase the same quantity of iron at the same price. The petitioner filed a suit against the defendant. The court held that these cross offers were made side by side, and both the party did not have any idea about such offer, so the parties are not bound to honour the contract.

Counteroffer 

A counteroffer means when a party offers a contract to the other party and the other party alter the offer to their needs and present it back. This can be said as a counteroffer. In the case of Haji Mohd Haji Jiva v Spinner, it was held by the court that when the counteroffer is accepted, then the terms of the original contract cannot be enforced. The counteroffer should be accepted by the initial offeror to be called a contract.

Standing offer

It is a kind offer that is made to all public, but the offer’s performance is bound by time. The people can apply to this offer, and when the party accepts the term of the offer, they are bound by the time to perform their part of the contract.

Conclusion 

There are many ways through which an offer can be presented to the other party. Offer is the initial step in entering into a contract. The offer should obey the country’s law and be disclosed to the other party to be no ambiguity. 

Animesh Sharma

Animesh Sharma is from Jaipur, Rajasthan. He has completed B.A. LL.B (Hons) from Manipal University Jaipur. He like to play football, listen to music, play piano, play games.

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