Ch.3. Free consent:
One essential requirement of a valid contract is that it must have free consent. The parties must have consensus ad idem, that is they must agree upon the same thing in the same sense. Consent is not free if it is caused by Coercion ; undue influence, fraud or misrepresentation or mutual mistake. That is, but for the existence of coercion, undue influence etc., consent would not have been given. For a valid contract there must be free consent. If it is affected as in coercion, undue influence etc., the contract becomes voidable.
When there is no consent the contract is void.
'Consent' is defined in Sn.13. Two or more persons are said to give consent when they agree upon the same thing in the same sense i.e.,consensus ad idem. Legal consequences :
i) If there is a mistake of fact by both the parties, then there is no consent, and, hence the contract is void. (Sn. 20). A agrees to sell his horse to B. But, at the time of sale the horse was dead. Both did not know this fact The contract is void.
ii) If consent is obtained by fraud, coercion or misrepresentation, the contract is voidable, at the option of the party affected "A". A may insist that he may be put in the position in which he would have been put, if there was no fraud or misrepre-sentation.etc.
ii) When there is no consent, the contract is void ab initio. According to Sn. 1 : "all agreements are contracts, if they are made by the free consent of the parties". Hence, free consent is one of the essentials of a contract.