What’s Communication & modes of Communication beneath the Indian Contract Act?

In keeping with Part 2(h) of the Indian Contract Act 1872, An settlement enforceable by legislation is a contract. Earlier than a contract comes into existence the promisor has to suggest his willingness and promisee has to suggest his assent. It, due to this fact, turns into vital to elucidate what is supposed by such signification and what ought to be the mode of the identical.

To carry into discover willingness or assent of the events to enter right into a contract one wants to speak. This mode of communication could be postal or instantaneous. Part 3 of the Indian Contract Act states that communication could be made by an act or omission, the primary mode any act means any conduct and phrases, written or oral. Written phrases embrace letters, telegrams, messages, ads whereas oral phrases embrace phone messages.

A proposal is just not legitimate till communicated, a proposal could be communicated by phrase or by the gesture, hereby phrase we imply oral or written kind gesture means motion of part of the physique it’s a type of non-verbal communication an instance could be node of the top. In Powell v. Lee[3] the managers of a faculty determined to nominate an individual because the headmaster, there was no official communication of this. A grasp from the identical faculty communicated this determination of the appointment to the individual, in a while, the varsity managers determined to order this determination. It was held that there was no contract as there is no such thing as a communication by the facet of the authority and the communication occurred by the grasp in his private capability. The candidate coming to know not directly of the choice was not materials.

Communication of provide is essential

Because the communication of provide is essential so is the communication of acceptance. When the communication of acceptance is made then solely the contract comes into existence, In Lalman Shukla v. Gauri Dutt [4] the defendant despatched his servant searching for his nephew who went lacking after the servant left he introduced a reward for the one who will discover his nephew the servant did and claimed the reward. It was held that there is no such thing as a contract as there was no communication of acceptance. However by this, we can not say that formation of contact takes place solely when communication takes place in phrases however it’s also accepted by the conduct of the occasion. In Carlill v. Carbolic Smokeball Co.,[5] A normal provide was made by the smoke ball firm that if anybody makes use of their product within the prescribed method and will get contaminated with influenza then they are going to pay 1000 kilos to such an individual. Right here the plaintiff used the product within the prescribed method it was held that because it was a normal provide made by the corporate by shopping for the product and utilizing it within the prescribed method the plaintiff communicated acceptance by this conduct and therefore ought to be compensated.

We have to perceive how essential communication of acceptance turns into within the formation of a contract. Another essential ingredient is the time interval wherein communication of acceptance is made, the communication should happen within the prescribed time interval if the communication takes place after lapse of the prescribed time then it doesn’t stand as a sound acceptance.

For eg – If Mr. X in his provide letter has written that he’s anticipating reply on or earlier than sixth december it means the individual must reply earlier than the given time, If he replies after that it’s going to not be held as a sound acceptance. The communication of acceptance should be to the offeror and to not any third individual as it is going to make no contract.

Communication of proposals Communication of acceptance is full
In terms of the information of the individual to whom it’s made In opposition to proposer-When put in course of transmission In opposition to acceptor-In terms of the information of proposer

After we mentioned communication of provide and acceptance the following half is the mode wherein communication takes place. Earlier it was achieved primarily by the assistance of publish that’s by postal communication or telegrams. However now within the time we reside, provide and acceptance takes place by means of digital mails or the totally different social platforms and messaging apps.


As talked about these days, the commonest mode of communication is digital however when Indian Contract Act was drafted it solely talked about the postal mode. With the assistance of the postal mode the principles for the digital mode have been interpreted.

The principles of contracts by publish (postal guidelines) embrace the next:

  1. A proposal made by publish/letter is just not efficient till obtained by the one to whom it’s made
  2. Acceptance is efficient as quickly as it’s posted.

For understanding the postal rule we have to perceive these primary two guidelines first one is when a proposal is made is just not legitimate till obtained by the individual to whom it’s made. However on the facet of the offeree, the acceptance is full as quickly because the letter is posted. It is because it turns into out of the facility of acceptor to make any modifications. Now if the individual needs to revoke this provide she or he would possibly publish the letter of revocation with the assistance of pace publish. This revocation will stand legitimate if it involves the information of the proposer/offeror earlier than the acceptance.

Adams v. Lindsel

Adams v. Lindsel [6] is taken into account to be the primary landmark case in England which led to the institution of postal rule for acceptance of a proposal.


The information of Adams v Lindsell are that: the defendants wrote to the plaintiffs on 2nd September, providing to promote them some wool and requested that the plaintiffs reply ‘in course of publish’ they specified the mode right here . The letter which contained the provide was wrongly addressed and due to this fact the plaintiffs didn’t obtain it till the fifth of September. The letter of acceptance was not obtained till the ninth of September by the defendants, and this was two days later than the date anticipated. Due to this, on September 8 the defendants had bought the wool to a 3rd individual.


The problem for the courtroom, on this case, was due to this fact whether or not a contract of sale had been entered into earlier than 8 September when the wool was bought to the third occasion. If the acceptance was efficient when it arrived on the deal with or when the defendant noticed it, then no contract would have been made and the sale to the third occasion would quantity to revocation of the provide.


The courtroom held that the provide had been accepted as quickly because the letter had been posted because it grew to become out of the facility of the acceptor. Thus, there was a contract in existence earlier than the sale of the wool to the third occasion, regardless that the letter had not really been obtained by the defendant. The defendant was due to this fact liable in breach of contract.

There are a number of theories in regards to the Postal rule in Adams v Lindsell.

1. First concept is that the provide can reject this provide by a faster technique of communication this could be a pace publish or anything.

2. One other concept is that with out the postal rule an offeree wouldn’t have the ability to know for sure whether or not they had really entered right into a contract or not. When an offeror chooses to begin to make a proposal by publish he takes the chance of delay and accidents within the publish, it’s understood. Nonetheless, the offeror can keep away from the established on this case by expressly stipulating that he’s to not be sure till the precise receipt of the acceptance.

3. An extra concept for the existence of the postal rule is that if offeror says postal technique of acceptance is sufficient she or he would possibly bear the results as we mentioned on this case. Furthermore, Adams v Lindsell could possibly be thought of help for the concept the offeror ought to be thought of as making the provide on a regular basis that the provide is within the publish, and that due to this fact the settlement between the 2 events is full for the time being that acceptance is posted.

4. On this case itself it was recommended (at 683) that if the rule didn’t exist “no contract may ever be accomplished by publish”. This manner the offeror is not going to be sure together with his or her provide until it was notified to him and the offree is not going to be sure by his or her acceptance till notified that it has come to the information of the offeror. One additional purpose for the existence of the rule on this landmark case is that the Put up Workplace could be thought of to be the frequent agent of each events, and due to this fact communication to this agent instantly completes the contract. Nonetheless, if the acceptance letter is just not carrying any deal with or is just not addressed to any specific place or individual then the acceptance of the contract is just not full because the supply of the letter to the agent would not make the acceptance full. The Adams v Lindsell postal rule solely applies when it’s cheap to make use of the publish as a method of speaking acceptance. So, a proposal made in a letter despatched by publish could possibly be accepted by publish. But at different instances postal acceptance could also be cheap. Nonetheless, Adams v Lindsell is not going to usually apply the place acceptance is made by publish in response to a proposal made by some instantaneous mode of communication. This rule will even not be utilized if the acceptor knew that modes of postal communication have been disrupted throughout that point.


The postal rule, created in 1818, was not framed in such a way that it stands according to instantaneous mode of communication reminiscent of fax, e-mail and e-commerce programs and due to this fact it’s criticized by many individuals. When the courtroom faces totally different points every day the issue is of the 2 strategies nose to nose and distance communication which mixes up and causes confusion. To clear it the courts at the moment don’t combine these two up fairly remedy it utilizing easy legal guidelines as it may be interpreted.

Regulation of contract requires a proposal and acceptance to be in place in a sure method, that is to make sure that there’s surety between the 2 events contracting; there’s additionally one other side to this India is a growing nation, lots of people from outdoors India attempt to spend money on varied tasks right here. There’s a contractual relationship taking form and to offer surety to this strengthening this legislation turns into of prime significance.

As we progressed the query courts tackled was if the postal rule was broad sufficient to be utilized to instantaneous mode of communication. As digital strategies have progressed, the dispatch and receipt of a message tends to coincide and any legislation that offers with the delay between the 2, such because the postal rule, appears to be rendered ineffective or out of date. It has been held {that a} phone dialog is identical as a dialog that’s held between two folks in the identical room so the ‘receipt’ rule applies; we are able to perceive this that communication of acceptance must be heard by the offeror then solely a contract is shaped. There’s an assumption right here {that a} message of acceptance despatched throughout workplace hours tends to be obtained. Nonetheless, an issue arises when the mode of communication is known as instantaneous however in precise actuality is just not, Lord Fraser handled this downside in Brinkibon Ltd v Stahag Stahl [8] and said that duty and threat was on the one who receives the message in the event that they select to not man their machines . The legislation relating to instantaneous appears to be extra concise and fairer than the postal rule, instantaneous strategies have been used for a few years because the instances above and has had little or no impact on commerce which could possibly be an indicator that it’s perceived as simply and acceptable by society.

To summarize we are able to say, it appears the postal rule is just not utterly outdated; it may well nonetheless apply to trendy non-instantaneous strategies of communication reminiscent of e-mail. Right here we are able to take into account the instances of mails that aren’t opened for some that get into the trash bin, the courtroom of Singapore thought of to be a non-instantaneous type of communication; however nonetheless, the controversy goes on as this straightforward factor could be interpreted by totally different courts in their very own approach.

To carry into discover willingness or assent of the events to enter right into a contract one wants to speak. This mode of communication could be postal or instantaneous. Part 3 of the Indian Contract Act states that communication could be made by an act or omission, the primary mode any act means any conduct and phrases, written or oral. Written phrases embrace letters, telegrams, messages, ads whereas oral phrases embrace phone messages.

Sunidhi Singh


Sunidhi hails from Symbiosis Regulation Faculty, NOIDA and spends most of her time researching, studying and debating. Her Curiosity areas are legislation and coverage. For any clarifications, suggestions, and recommendation, you may attain us at [email protected]

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