Free Consent is an essential element for formation of a contract . According to Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, All agreements are contracts, if they are made by the free consent. Section 13 and Section 14 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 defines 'Consent' and 'Free Consent' respectively.
1) Meaning of Consent
The term Consent means "agreed to "or giving acceptance. The parties to the Contract must freely and mutually agree upon the terms of the contract in the same sense and at the same time. There cannot be any agreement unless both the parties it to agree to it. If there is no Consent, Agreement will be void ab initio for want of consent
2) Definition of Consent
Section 13 of the Indian Contract Act 1872 defines Consent as " Two or more person are said to consent when they agree upon the same thing in the same sense."
3) When is a Consent said to be free ?
According to Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, to constitute a valid contract, parties should enter into the contract with their free Consent. Consent is said to be free when it is not obtained by coercion, or undue influence or fraud or misrepresentation or mistake.
Section 14 of the said act defines 'Free Consent' as Consent is said to be free, when it is not caused by -
(1) Coercion (as defined in section 15 of the Indian Contact Act 1872) or
(2) Undue Influence as defined in section 16 of the Indian Contact Act 1872) or
( See....Distinction between Coercion and Undue Influence )
(3) Fraud ( as defined in section 17 of the Indian Contact Act 1872) , or
(4) Misrepresentation as defined in section 18 of the Indian Contact Act 1872) or
(5) mistake, subject to the provisions of section 20,21, and 22.
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 2(i): An agreement which is enforceable by law at the option of one or more of the parties thereto, but not at the option of the other or others, is a voidable contract;
Section 2(g) : when a consent is caused by mistake, the agreement is void. A void agreement is not enforceable at the option of either party.
See.... Distinction between Void and Voidable Contracts