According to Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, All agreements are contracts if they are made by the free consent of parties competent to contract, for a lawful consideration and with a lawful object, and are not hereby expressly declared to be void. Consent is said to be free when it is not obtained by Coercion, or Undue Influence, or  Fraud or Misrepresentation or Mistake. 

1) Coercion : Meaning -

         If a person commits or threatens to commit an act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code with a view to obtaining the consent of the other person to an agreement, the consent in such case is deemed to have been obtained by coercion. In simple words coercion means "making a person to give his consent by force or threat."

Example : 

          X threatens to shoot Y if Y does not agree to sell his property to Y at the stated price, Y's consent in this case has been obtained by coercion.

2) Coercion : Definition -

             Section 15 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines "Coercion as 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.

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. 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,

3) Essential Ingredients of Coercion : 

             Essential elements of Coercion are as follows :

a) Committing or threatening to commit any act forbidden by Indian Penal Code or,

b) The unlawful detaining or threatening to detain any property to the prejudice of any person whatever.

c) with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement.

4) Effect of Coercion -

                     An agreement entered into under coercion is voidable at the option of the party.

5) Case Law : 

Chikkam Ammiraju V. Chickam Seshamma ILR (1918) 41 Mad 33

        In this case, the husband by a threat of suicide, induced his wife and son to execute a release deed in favor of his brother in respect of a certain proprieties claimed as their own by the wife and son. 

 Court held that to commit suicide amounted to coercion within the meaning of section 15 of the Indian Contract Act and therefore release deed was voidable. 


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