COERCION VS UNDUE INFLUENCE
The difference between coercion and undue influence is as follows:
Coercion means using force to compel a person to enter into a contract. So force or threats are used to obtain the consent of the party under coercion, i.e it is not free consent.
ACCORDING TO SECTION 15 OF INDIAN CONTRACT ACT, 1872
- committing or threatening to commit any act forbidden by the law in the IPC
- unlawfully detaining or threatening to detain any property with the intention of causing any person to enter into a contract.”
The term ‘undue influence’ means the improper or unfair use of one’s superior power in order to obtain the consent of a person who is in a weaker position.
ACCORDING TO SECTION 16 OF INDIAN CONTRACT ACT 1872
“When the relations between the two parties are such that one party is in a position to dominate the other party, and uses such influence to obtain an unfair advantage of the other party it will be undue influence.”
The section also further describes how the person can abuse his authority in the following two ways:
- When a person holds real or even apparent authority over the other person. Or if he is in a fiduciary relationship with the other person.
- He makes a contract with a person whose mental capacity is affected by age, illness or distress. The unsoundness of mind can be temporary or permanent.
EXAMPLE: A sold his gold watch for only Rs 500/- to his teacher B after his teacher promised him good grades. Here the consent of A is not freely given; he was under the influence of his teacher.
COERCION VS UNDUE INFLUENCE
|BASIS FOR COMPARISON||COERCION||UNDUE INFLUENCE|
|MEANING||Coercion is an act of threatening which involves the use of physical force.||Undue Influence is an act of influencing the will of the other party.|
|SECTIONS||It is governed by Section 15 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.||It is governed by Section 16 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.|
|USE OF||It involves the use of Psychological pressure or Physical force.||It involves the use of Mental pressure or Moral force.|
|PURPOSE||Its purpose is to compel a person in such a way that he enters into a contract with the other party.||Its purpose is to take unfair advantage of his position.|
|CRIMINAL NATURE||Coercion is of criminal nature.||Undue influence is not of criminal nature.|
|RELATIONSHIP||The relationship between parties is not necessary.||The act of undue influence is done only when the parties to the contract are in relationship. Like teacher – student, doctor – patient etc.|
|CARRIED BY||Coercion is directly carried by the party or sometimes by strangers also.||Undue Influence is carried by the party who is superior to the other party or by the stronger party to get weaker party consent.|
|AGREEMENT||If consent to an agreement is caused by coercion, the agreement becomes voidable at the option of the party whose consent was so caused.||If consent to an agreement is caused by undue influence, the agreement becomes voidable at the option of the party whose consent was so caused.|
Coercion and Undue Influence both are barriers in the path of free consent of the parties which is an essential element of a contract. That is why the contract is voidable at the option of the party whose will is influenced by the other party.
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