According to the Indian Contract Act 1872, a proposal is defined in Section 2 (a) as “when one person will signify to a different person his willingness to try and do or not do something (abstain) with a view to getting the assent of such person to such an act or abstinence, he’s said to form a proposal or a proposal.”

The person making the offer/proposal is understood as the “promisor” or the “offeror”. and therefore, the one who may accept such a suggestion is the “promisee” or the “acceptor”. The offeror must express his willingness to try and do or abstain from doing an act. Only willingness isn’t enough. Just a desire to do/not do something won’t constitute a proposal. An offer may be positive or negative. It may be a promise to try and do some act, and might even be a promise to abstain (not do) some act/service. Both are valid offers. 

Indian Contract Act: Proposal Classification of Offer – There are many varieties of offers supported by their nature, timing, intention, etc. allow us to take a glance at the classifications of offers. 

General Offer – A general offer is one that’s made to the general public at large. It’s not made by any specified parties. So any member of the general public can accept the offer and be entitled to the rewards/consideration. Say for instance you set out a gift for solving a puzzle. So if any member of the general public can accept the offer and be entitled to the reward if he finishes the act (solves the puzzle.) 

Specific Offer –  A specific offer, on the opposite hand, is barely made to specific parties, so only they’ll accept the said offer or proposal. They’re also sometimes referred to as special offers. Like for instance, A offers to sell his horse to B for Rs 5000/- Then only B can accept such a suggestion because it’s specific to him.

Cross Offer – This suggests both make an analogous offer to every other at the precise same time. However, such a cross offer won’t amount to acceptance of the offer in either case. For example, both A and B send letters to every other offering to sell and buy A’s horse for Rs 5000/-. this can be a cross offer, but it’ll be considered acceptable for either of them. 

Counter Offer – There is also times when a promise will only accept parts of a suggestion, and alter certain terms of the offer. this can be a certified acceptance. He will want changes or modifications within the terms of the first offer. this can be referred to as a counteroffer. A counteroffer amounts to a rejection of the first offer.

Essentials of a Valid Offer – 

1. Offer must be communicated: Communication of offer is the most primary thing which is to be done for a sound offer. The offeror must communicate the offer to the offeree. The communication will be either in oral or written form. The offer can be directly communicated to the person-specific to whom it’s offered or it is general in nature. For example, “A” wants to sell his car and he has published a commercial in a newspaper which could be a form to speak the offer to the general public. Hence, it’s a legitimate offer. In the case of Lalman Shukla v. Gauri Dutt, the judicature of Allahabad that knowledge and acceptance of a proposal must be communicated to people are the fundamental essentials to constitute a legitimate contract. The person can claim a reward if he gives his consent and performs the terms of the proposal.

2. Must create the legal relationship: A valid offer creates a legal relationship which implies there must be an intention of the offeror to figure under a legal obligation or to be legally bounded by law, not under social obligation. For example: “X” (Father of Y) says to “Y” if he passes the exam he will get a brand new game. “Y” passed the exam asked his father to offer him a game as he had promised to Y. Here X isn’t legally bound because the offer doesn’t create any legal obligation against X. In the case of Balfour v. Balfour – They were family. Husband promised to his wife to send £30 per month. But the husband didn’t do so. Then wife filed the case against him and it was held that there was no intention to make professional relation. Thus, the agreement wasn’t valid.

3. Definite, unambiguous, and certain in nature: Offer must be sure as laid out in [Section 29], it must be unambiguous implies that the thing offered must be clearly specified. For example, Mitesh offered to sell his car to Tanmay.

4. It must be distinguished from an invitation to offer: The offer makes someone enter into a legally binding contract whereas an invitation to offer invites the person to enter into a contract. For example, A suit was displayed with a tag during a shop. This can be not an offer it’s an invitation to offer.

5. It should be general or specific in nature: The offer is given to the public at large normally by advertisement in newspaper etc. or it is given specific person too.

6. Offer must be made with a view to getting the assent: The offeror must obtain consent which should be “free” in nature as defined under Section 14 because it defines it shouldn’t be taken under coercion [section 15], undue influence [Section 16,17,18,19,20,21,22] 

Edited By: Purnima Ojha

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Aditya Mehrotra
Hello Everyone, this is Aditya. I am a First year B.A.LL.B. student from Symbiosis Law School, Pune. Being a firm believer of the Pt. Nehru's quote, "Facts are Facts and will not disappear on account of your likes", My aptitude for Law and Journalism is witness to the basic fact that you will find me in the library reading my favorite Legal Books, my favorite being 'The Courtroom Genius' by Nani Palkhivala. I chose Law as my career because I was inspired by the likes of Lawyers like Nani Palkhivala and Ram Jethmalani. I always wanted to contribute to the field of Social Work through Legal means and Emancipation of the Poor. My oratory skills won various accolades both at regional and global level. In my opinion dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.