June 8, 2024

Duress in Indian law refers to a situation where a person is forced or threatened into acting against their free will, rendering any resulting contract or agreement voidable. Governed by the Indian Contract Act, 1872, duress involves coercion, where one party uses threats, physical harm, or unlawful confinement to compel another party to consent to a contract. Section 15 of the Act defines coercion as committing or threatening to commit any act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code, or unlawfully detaining or threatening to detain any property, to the prejudice of any person, with the intention of causing any person to enter into an agreement. If a party can prove that their consent was obtained through duress, the contract can be declared voidable at the option of the coerced party. This legal provision ensures that agreements are entered into freely and voluntarily, upholding the principles of fairness and equity. Duress can also be a defence in criminal cases, where the accused claims that their unlawful act was committed under the threat of immediate harm, potentially absolving them of liability if proven.


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