The condition under which consent shall not be call to be free
When a person compels the other party to enter into a contract by the use of force or threat, he is said to have employed coercion and the consent is not free,
According to Sec. 15 of the Indian Contract Act, “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 or to the prejudice of any person whatsoever; with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement.
Example. Mukesh asked Mahesh to sign a particular contract otherwise the latter’s son shall be stabbed. On being signed by Mahesh, it than be deemed that the contract was got entered into under the coercion. Such contracts are voidable at the discretion of the aggrieved party.
Effect of Coercion
When consent to an agreement is caused by coercion, the agreement is voidable at the option, of the party whose consent was so caused (Sec. 19).
According to Sec. 72, a person to whom money has been paid, or anything delivered by mistake or under coercion, must repay or return it.
A contract brought about by coercion is voidable at the option of the party whose consent was so caused (Sec.19). This means that the aggrieved party may either exercise the option to affirm the transaction by exercising a right of rescission. As per section 64, if the aggrieved party opts to rescind a voidable contract, he must restore any benefit received by him under the contract to the other party from whom received.
The burden of proof that coercion was used lies on the party who wants to set aside the contract on the plea of coercion.