Question: “Acceptance is to offer what a lighted match is to a train of gunpowder. It produces something, which cannot be recalled or undone. But the powder may have laid till it has become damp or the man who has laid the train may remove it before the match is applied”. Explain with illustrations the principles sought to… Read More »

Question: “Acceptance is to offer what a lighted match is to a train of gunpowder. It produces something, which cannot be recalled or undone. But the powder may have laid till it has become damp or the man who has laid the train may remove it before the match is applied”. Explain with illustrations the principles sought to be expressed in the above passage. [DJS 1990] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [“Acceptance is to offer what a lighted match is to a train...

Question: “Acceptance is to offer what a lighted match is to a train of gunpowder. It produces something, which cannot be recalled or undone. But the powder may have laid till it has become damp or the man who has laid the train may remove it before the match is applied”. Explain with illustrations the principles sought to be expressed in the above passage. [DJS 1990]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [“Acceptance is to offer what a lighted match is to a train of gunpowder. It produces something, which cannot be recalled or undone. But the powder may have laid till it has become damp or the man who has laid the train may remove it before the match is applied”. Explain]

Answer

A proposal becomes a promise when it is accepted. Section 2(b) of the Act defines “acceptance” as “when the person to whom the proposal is made signifies his assent thereto, the proposal is said to be accepted.”

A contract is created only after proposal is accepted by the party to whom it is made. Before the acceptance is given, neither party to the agreement is bound yet. So, it is necessary to know when the communication of a proposal and its acceptance is complete and when revocation of proposal or acceptance can be done.

Section 4 of the Indian Contract Act provides that “Communication of a proposal is complete when it comes to the knowledge of the person to whom it is made. Communication of acceptance is complete: “as against the proposer, when it is put in course of transmission to him so as to be out of the power of acceptor as against the acceptor, when it comes to the knowledge of proposer.”

Section 5 of the act provide as to when proposal or acceptance can be revoked and lays down A proposal may be revoked at any time before the communication of its acceptance is complete as against the proposer but not afterwards. An acceptance may be revoked at any time before the communication of acceptance is complete as against the acceptor, but not afterwards.

For example, ‘A’ proposes, by a letter sent by post, to sell his house to ‘B’. B accepts the proposal by a letter sent by post. A may revoke his proposal at any time before or at the moment when B posts his letter of acceptance, but not afterwards.

So when acceptance of a proposal is communicated, leaving no scope of revoking the acceptance, then the moment proposal is accepted it results in a binding contract.

The aforesaid statement is given in reference to the effect of acceptance of an offer which was explained by Anson in “Anson’s law of contract.

According to English law an acceptance once made is irrevocable. In the words of Anson: “Acceptance is to offer what a lighted match is to a train of gunpowder. Both do something which cannot be undone.”

This rule is obviously confined in its operation only to postal acceptance. It is suggested in Anson that in other cases “an acceptance can be revoked at any time before acceptance is complete, provided, of course, that the revocation itself is communicated before the acceptance arrives”. In India, on the other hand, acceptance is generally revocable. An acceptor may cancel his acceptance by a speedier mode of communication which will reach earlier than the acceptance itself.


Law of Contract Mains Questions Series: Important Questions for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Contract Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 6 Jan 2022 12:58 AM GMT
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