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

In keeping with Part 2(h) of the Indian Contract Act 1872, An settlement enforceable by regulation 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 essential to elucidate what is supposed by such signification and what needs 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 might be postal or instantaneous. Part 3 of the Indian Contract Act states that communication might 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, commercials whereas oral phrases embrace phone messages.

A suggestion shouldn’t be legitimate till communicated, a suggestion might 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 might be node of the top. In Powell v. Lee[3] the managers of a college determined to nominate an individual because the headmaster, there was no official communication of this. A grasp from the identical college communicated this choice of the appointment to the individual, afterward, the college managers determined to order this choice. It was held that there was no contract as there isn’t any 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 necessary 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 in the hunt for his nephew who went lacking after the servant left he introduced a reward for the one that will discover his nephew the servant did and claimed the reward. It was held that there isn’t any contract as there was no communication of acceptance. However by this, we can’t say that formation of contact takes place solely when communication takes place in phrases however additionally it is accepted by the conduct of the occasion. In Carlill v. Carbolic Smokeball Co.,[5] A basic 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 may 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 basic 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 needs to be compensated.

We have to perceive how necessary communication of acceptance turns into within the formation of a contract. Yet one more necessary factor 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 legitimate 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’ll not be held as a legitimate acceptance. The communication of acceptance have to be to the offeror and to not any third individual as it should make no contract.

Communication of proposals Communication of acceptance is full
In relation to the data of the individual to whom it’s made Towards proposer-When put in course of transmission Towards acceptor-In relation to the data 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 submit that’s by postal communication or telegrams. However now within the time we dwell, provide and acceptance takes place by way of digital mails or the completely different social platforms and messaging apps.


As talked about these days, the most typical 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 foundations for the digital mode had been interpreted.

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

  1. A suggestion made by submit/letter shouldn’t be 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 fundamental two guidelines first one is when a suggestion is made shouldn’t be 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 adjustments. Now if the individual desires to revoke this provide she or he may submit the letter of revocation with the assistance of pace submit. This revocation will stand legitimate if it involves the data 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 suggestion.


The info 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 submit’ 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 offered the wool to a 3rd individual.


The difficulty 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 offered to the third occasion. If the acceptance was efficient when it arrived on the tackle 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 turned 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, though the letter had not truly 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 generally is a pace submit or anything.

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

3. An additional concept for the existence of the postal rule is that if offeror says postal technique of acceptance is sufficient she or he may bear the results as we mentioned on this case. Furthermore, Adams v Lindsell may very well be thought-about assist for the concept the offeror needs to be thought-about as making the provide on a regular basis that the provide is within the submit, 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 urged (at 683) that if the rule didn’t exist “no contract might ever be accomplished by submit”. This fashion the offeror won’t be certain along with his or her provide until it was notified to him and the offree won’t be certain by his or her acceptance till notified that it has come to the data of the offeror. One additional purpose for the existence of the rule on this landmark case is that the Submit Workplace might be thought-about 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 shouldn’t be carrying any tackle or shouldn’t be addressed to any explicit place or individual then the acceptance of the contract shouldn’t be 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 affordable to make use of the submit as a way of speaking acceptance. So, a suggestion made in a letter despatched by submit may very well be accepted by submit. But at different occasions postal acceptance could also be affordable. Nonetheless, Adams v Lindsell won’t usually apply the place acceptance is made by submit in response to a suggestion made by some instantaneous mode of communication. This rule can even not be utilized if the acceptor knew that modes of postal communication had 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 comparable to fax, e-mail and e-commerce techniques and due to this fact it’s criticized by many individuals. When the courtroom faces completely different points every day the issue is of the 2 strategies head to head and distance communication which mixes up and causes confusion. To clear it the courts at present don’t combine these two up slightly remedy it utilizing easy legal guidelines as it may be interpreted.

Regulation of contract requires a suggestion and acceptance to be in place in a sure method, that is to make sure that there may be surety between the 2 events contracting; there may be additionally one other facet to this India is a growing nation, lots of people from outdoors India attempt to put money into numerous initiatives right here. There’s a contractual relationship taking form and to offer surety to this strengthening this regulation 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 regulation 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 individuals 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 fashioned. There may be 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 named instantaneous however in precise actuality shouldn’t be, Lord Fraser handled this drawback in Brinkibon Ltd v Stahag Stahl [8] and acknowledged that accountability and danger was on the one that receives the message in the event that they select to not man their machines . The regulation 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 circumstances above and has had little or no impact on commerce which may very well 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 shouldn’t be utterly outdated; it could actually nonetheless apply to trendy non-instantaneous strategies of communication comparable to e-mail. Right here we are able to take into account the circumstances of mails that aren’t opened for some that get into the trash bin, the courtroom of Singapore thought-about to be a non-instantaneous type of communication; however however, the controversy goes on as this straightforward factor might be interpreted by completely 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 might be postal or instantaneous. Part 3 of the Indian Contract Act states that communication might 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, commercials 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 regulation and coverage. For any clarifications, suggestions, and recommendation, you possibly can attain us at [email protected]

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