The law of contract is a very important branch of Mercantile Law. It is that branch of law which determines the circumstances in which promises made by the parties to a contract shall be legally binding on them. Acceptance is signification of assent to the proposal. It takes two to make a bargain. So acceptance of the proposal is essential to the formation of an agreement. Without the acceptance of the proposal, no agreement can come into being.
Section 2(b) defines acceptance as follows:
“When the person to whom the proposal is made signifies his assent thereto, the proposal is said to be accepted. A proposal; when accepted, becomes a promise.”
Thus, “acceptance” is the assent given to a proposal, and it has the effect of converting the proposal into promise.
3.ESSENTIALS OF A VALID ACCEPTANCE:
I. It must be given by the Offeree:
An offer can be accepted only by the person to whom it is made. It cannot be accepted by another person without the consent of offerer. If anyone attempts to accept it no contract with that person arises.
Similarly, in case of an offer to a particular class, it can be accepted by any member of that class. If the offer is made, to a general public, it may be accepted by any person who has knowledge of the existence of the offer.
2. It must be Absolute and Unconditional:
In order to convert the offer ir.o an agreement, the acceptance must be absolute and unconditional. If the offeree imposes any condition in his acceptance it is not a valid acceptance but a counter offer. As a result of counter offer there will be not contract until the counter offer is accepted by the original offerer. An acceptance must be according to the terms of the offer. A counter offer actually rejects the original offer.
3. It cannot be accepted after Refusal:
If a proposal is once refused, it terminates unless renewed. Actually, when the offeree once rejects the offer, he has no offer to accept. An offer once rejected cannot be accepted again unless a fresh offer is made.
4. It must be in a Prescribed Manner:
If the offerer in his offer has prescribed any particular manner of acceptance, it must be given according to that.particular manner. If no particular manner is prescribed in the offer then acceptance should be made in a reasonable manner. If acceptance is not made according to the prescribed manner, the offerer may reject it. The offerer must reject the acceptance within a reasonable time, otherwise he is bound by that.
5. It must be Communicated by the Acceptor:
In order to form a contract, the acceptance must be communicated to the offerer in a clear manner by the offeree or bis authorized agent. Mere expression of intention to accept an offer is not a valid acceptance.
6. It may be Express or Implied:
When an acceptance is given by words spoken or written, it is called express acceptance. When it is given by conduct, it is called implied acceptance. Sometimes the proposal, instead of being made to a definite person, is made to the public. In such circumstances the contract arises when the person accepts it by words or conduct. Law recognizes both express and implied acceptance as valid.
7. It must be an Acceptance of all the Terms: Acceptance of proposal is the acceptance of all the
terms and conditions of a proposal. If some terms are not clear, then those terms would not be binding. Acceptance should be of the whole of offer.
8. It must Follow the Offer:
Acceptance must be given after receiving the offer. It should not precede the offer. Acceptance always follows the offer.
If someone performs any act in ignorance of the proposal, there will be no contract because without an offer, no acceptance can be made. The offer must come to the knowledge of offeree then he can accept or reject it.
9. It must be given before Revocation of Offer:
In order to be valid acceptance, it must be given within the specified time limit. If no time limit is mentioned, then acceptance must be given within a reasonable time.
Acceptance must be given before the offer is revoked by reason of offeree’s knowledge of the death or insanity of the offeror.
Acceptance makes the contract complete. Acceptance requires the offeree’s assent to the proposal and the agreement to give or giving the requested return. The acceptance has to be made by some words, acts or conduct, indicative of assent.