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Linga reddy Allu   17 April 2020

coercion

is threat to kill a person to enforce his rights under valid contract amounts to coercion ? expliain its effects.


 4 Replies

Archit Uniyal   17 April 2020

Hi,

The requirement of free consent is in Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act and must be satisfied to transform an agreement into a contract

Section 13 of the Indian Contract Act defines Free Consent. It states that two or more persons are said to consent when they agree upon the same thing in the same sense.

Consent is said to be so caused when it would not have been given but for the existence of such coercion, undue influence, fraud, misrepresentation or mistake.

Section 15 of the ICA states that “Coercion” is the committing, or threatening to commit, any act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code, or the unlawful detaining, or threatening to detain, any property, to the prejudice of any person whatever, with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement. (KISHEN LAL KALRA Vs NDMC)

If the consent of a party to any transaction is not a free consent, such consent will be revocable at the option of the party whose consent was obtained by coercion (DAIICHI KARKARIA Vs ONGC)

Also to keep in mind that, it is immaterial whether the Indian Penal Code is or is not in force in the place where the coercion is employed.

Hope this solves your query.

Regards,

Archit.

Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     20 April 2020

 ‘Coercion’ defined.—‘Coercion’ is the committing, or threatening to commit, any act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or the unlawful detaining, or threatening to detain, any property, to the prejudice of any person whatever, with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement. —‘Coercion’ is the committing, or threatening to commit, any act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or the unlawful detaining, or threatening to detain, any property, to the prejudice of any person whatever, with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement." Explanation.—It is immaterial whether the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) is or is not in force in the place where the coercion is employed. Illustrations A, on board an English ship on the high seas, causes B to enter into an agreement by an act amounting to criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860). A afterwards sues B for breach of contract at Calcutta. A afterwards sues B for breach of contract at Calcutta." A has employed coercion, although his act is not an offence by the law of England, and although section 506 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) was not in force at the time when or place where the act was done. A has employed coercion, although his act is not an offence by the law of England, and although section 506 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) was not in force at the time when or place where the act was done."

R.Ranganathan (Director)     25 May 2020

In reply to your query, I submit that the act of threatening to kill amounts to coercion. But your query states that the threatening was to enforce the rights and not to enter into any contract. So kindly state the right which was to be enforced. This act may lead to assault and other criminal offences.

175B083 Mahesh P S   21 December 2020

Hello,

Yes, a threat to kill someone falls under the purview of coercion as Coercion is committing, or threatening to commit, any act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code , or the unlawful detaining, or threatening to detain, any property, to the prejudice of any person whatever, with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement. The words in this segment are significantly more extensive which existed amid the English authorities. This definition expresses that the coercion which refutes a contract ought to not really go from a gathering to an agreement, or ought to be quick against a man whom it was proposed to cause to go into a contract or anything which influences his property.

Coercion under Section 72-
The meaning of coercion in this section objectifies to show whether the consent falls under section 14 it doesn’t covers the same meaning as in section 72 of the Contract Act, which covers all the compensation even if it doesn’t show up in Section 15

Section 15

Section 15 of the Indian Contract Act,1872 states that coercion is committing or threatening to commit, any act is forbidden by the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or the unlawful detaining or threatening to detain any property, to the prejudice of any person whatever, with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement. 

Coercion means forcing an individual to enter into a contract. When intimidation or threats are used under pressure to gain the party’s consent, i.e. it is not free consent.
Coercion may involve the actual infliction of physical and psychological harm in order to enhance the credibility of a threat. Then the threat of further harm can lead to the threatened person’s cooperation or obedience.

 

For example –

1) A was going out for a walk, B a stranger comes to A, takes out his gun and asks A to give all his possessions. Here A’s consent is obtained through coercion.
2) A government in order to realize fine, due from the son, has attached the property belonging to the son and the father pays the fine in order to save the property from being sold; here the payment is made out of the coercion.3
The definition contained in section 15 is exclusively expected to consider whether the consent in a specific case is a free consent falling inside area 14 and it doesn't administer the importance of the word coercion as utilized as a part of segment 70 of the Act.


There are certain words in this section that needs to be defined:
*Act forbidden by IPC- The word act forbidden by Indian Penal Code make it necessary for the court to decide in a Coercion is committing, or threatening to commit, any act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code (Section 45 of 1860), or the unlawful detaining, or threatening to detain, any property, to the prejudice of any person whatever, with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement. The words in this segment are significantly more extensive which existed amid the English authorities. This definition expresses that the coercion which refutes a contract ought to not really go from a gathering to an agreement, or ought to be quick against a man whom it was proposed to cause to go into a contract or anything which influences his property. For example – 1) A was going out for a walk, B a stranger comes to A, takes out his gun and asks A to give all his possessions. Here A’s consent is obtained through coercion.
2) A government in order to realize fine, due from the son, has attached the property belonging to the son and the father pays the fine in order to save the property from being sold; here the payment is made out of the coercion.3
The definition contained in section 15 is exclusively expected to consider whether the consent in a specific case is a free consent falling inside area 14 and it doesn't administer the importance of the word coercion as utilized as a part of segment 70 of the Act.


There are certain words in this section that needs to be defined:
* Act forbidden by IPC- The word act forbidden by Indian Penal Code make it necessary for the court to decide in a civil action, whether the alleged act of coercion is such as to amount to an offence.5A threat of bringing a false charm with the object of making another do a thing amount, action, whether the alleged act of coercion is such as to amount to an offence.5A threat of bringing a false charm with the object of making another do a thing amount,to blackmail or coercion.6In the case of Ranganayakamma v Alwar Setti, where the widow was obstructed from removing the corpse of her husband until she consented for the adoption. The court held that her consent was not free and it was coerced. It is clear that coercion is committing or threatening to commit any act which is contrary to law.


* Unlawful Detaining of Property: A consent can be said to be caused by coercion,if it is caused because of unlawful confining of a property, or a risk to do as such.
Where with a specific end goal to acknowledge fine due from child, the legislature appended the property having a place both of him and his dad, installment at that point made by the father keeping in mind the end goal to spare the property from being sold was held to have been made under coercion.9 Refusal by government office to discharge the installment of a temporary worker unless he surrendered his claim for additional rates added up to intimidation under the class of detainment of property.


* Prejudice- Mere sentimental prejudice is no ground for coercion rather there should be some legal injury in order to be prejudiced. For instance a wife been threatened by her husband to commit suicide.


*Causing any person to enter into an agreement- In the case of Vibha Mehta v Hotel Marinaat the point when coercion is charged, the claim like extortion or distortion must be upheld by particulars. It is simply after entire particulars of the affirmed coercion are given that the court can ask into it and choose whether it stands demonstrated or not.

It can be said that coercion is one of the major factor which influences the decision of an individual, it compels him to enter into a contract which otherwise he wouldn’t. The section also enumerates how a person can distinguish an act from coercion or not. In case of coercion the burden of proof lies on the person taking defence of coercion. The reason behind it is that if it was not so anybody could have approached saying that he has been coerced. There is a fine line between the narrower aspect under English law that is duress and the wider aspect of the Indian Contract law that is coercion. To conclude, any contract under coercion is voidable at the option of the aggrieved party.

Thank you


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