What are the rules regarding a valid acceptance?
Section 2(b) of the Indian contract Act, 1872, defines an acceptance as “when the person to whom the proposal is made signifies his assent thereto, the proposal is said to be accepted becomes a promise”. On the acceptance of the proposal, the proposer is called the promisor/offeror and the acceptor is called the promise/offeree
A valid acceptance must satisfy the following rules:-
1) Acceptance must be obsolete and unqualified:
• An acceptance to be valid must be obsolete and unqualified and in accordance with the exact terms of the offer.
• An acceptance with a variation, slight, is no acceptance, and may amount to a mere counteroffer (i.e.., the original may or may not accept.
2) Acceptance must be communicated to the offeror:
• For a valid acceptance, acceptance must not only be made by the offeree but it must also be communicated by the offeree to the offeror.
• Communication of the acceptance must be expressed or implied.
• A mere mental acceptance is no acceptance.
3) Acceptance must be according to the mode prescribed (or) usual and reasonable manner:
• If the offeror prescribed a mode of acceptance, acceptance must be given according to the mode prescribed.
• If the offeror prescribed no mode of acceptance, acceptance must be given according to some usual and reasonable mode.
• If an offer is not accepted according to the prescribed (or) usual mode. The proposer may within a reasonable time give notice to the offeree that the acceptance is not according to the mode prescribed.
• If the offeror keeps quiet he is deemed to have accepted the acceptance.
4) Acceptance must be given within a reasonable time:
• If any time limit is specified, the acceptance must be given within that time.
• If no time limit is specified, the acceptance must be given within a reasonable time.
5) It cannot precede an offer:
• If the acceptance precedes an offer, it is not a valid acceptance and does not result in a contract.
• In other words “acceptance subject to contract” is no acceptance.
6) Acceptance must be given by the parties (or) party to whom it is made:
• An offer can be accepted only by the person (or) persons to whom it is made.
• It cannot be accepted by another person without the consent of the offeror.
7) It cannot be implied from silence:
• Silence does not amount to acceptance.
• If the offeree does not respond to the offer (or) keeps quiet, the offer will lapse after a reasonable time.
• The offeror cannot compel the offeree to respond offer (or) to suggest that silence will be equivalent to acceptance.
8) Acceptance must be expressed (or) implied:
• An acceptance may be given either by words (or) by conduct.
• An acceptance which is expressed by words (i.e.., spoken or written) is called ‘expressed acceptance’.
• An acceptance that is inferred by the conduct of the person (or) by circumstances of the case is called an ‘implied or tacit acceptance’.
9) Acceptance may be given by performing some condition (or) by accepting some consideration.
10) Acceptance must be made before the offer lapses (or) before the offer is withdrawn.