Difference Between Coercion And Undue Influence Under The Contract Act
Difference Between Coercion And Undue Influence Under The Contract Act

Difference Between Coercion And Undue Influence Under The Contract Act


Most of the time, people in the legal profession do not make the right judgment at the right time because of not have a proper understanding of the difference between coercion and undue influence. So, do not skip the page, as this article today will give you an appropriate concept of coercion and undue influence. Just take a look below. 

What are Coercion and Undue Influence?

The word ‘Coercion’ is the act to make a person threatened just to compel her or him to enter into the contract and perform the obligation. On the other side, ‘Undue Influence’ becomes an act of controlling the will of the party just for the dominant position of the 1st party. When the consent of the parties in need of a contract is affected by coercion or undue influence and ultimately, the consent will not be free. 

The essence of a contract becomes an ultimate agreement i,e mutual consent and that means the parties to the contract come to be agreed upon the same in the same sense. That means, Consensus ad idem. The consent of the party does not come enough for an agreement but it needs free consent. It is the most necessary element for a valid contract. When the consent of one party does not come free, it is called tainted by coercion, undue influence, fraud or mistake, and even misrepresentation. 

But most of the time, it is to be seen that people do not have proper knowledge about ‘Coercion’ and ‘Unique Influence’. As a result of that, people face problems many times.

For your suitability, please do not skip the page as today this article will bring a difference between coercion and undue influence. Just take a look below and know the difference. 

 Coercion Vs Undue Influence

Coercion Undue Influence
Coercion becomes an act of threatening that comes to use for physical force.
Undue Influence is an act to create influence for the will on behalf of the other party.
It is ruled by section 15 of the Indian Contact Act in the year of 1872.
It is ruled under section 16 of the Indian Contact Act, of 1872.
It is used in physical force or psychological pressure.
It is used for Moral or mental pressure.
This thing makes a person compelled in such a way that he goes into a contract for the other party.
It is used to take advantage of his position.
The relationship between parties is not mandatory.
The act of undue influence is active when parties regarding contact are in a relationship.

Definition of Coercion to understand the difference between Coercion and undue influence

Coercion becomes a practice that goes unlawfully for a person or a property that is employed inducing a person just to agree despite his will. It involves physical pressure. This is an act from a person in such a way that the person does not have any wish but enters into an agreement with the other party. 

Coercion goes with blackmailing, beating any person or threatening to kill anyone, torturing, and detaining property. Even it includes threatening in need of commitment to an offense that is strictly prohibited by the Indian Penal Code,1860. The acts that come to be influenced by coercion are voidable but not void. That means if the other party whose will comes to work as an influenced force by coercion is surely voidable but not completely void. Suppose, the other party is influenced by concern that seems to benefit the contract and it surely will go for enforceable. 

Example – X threatens Y just to marry him or he will take attempt to kill her whole family. In that particular situation, the consent of Y does not come as free which means coercion influences it. 

A complete understanding of the term, ‘Coercion’

The word ‘Coercion’ has been described U/S 15 of the Indian Contract Act in the year 1872 and it says that simply, the provision describes that Coercion is the way for threatening someone to commit any act forbidden by the Indian Penal Code or threatening to detain even unlawful detaining intentionally and forcefully just to make a person for an agreement. In short, it is to be said that the act is used as a threat or force physically just to obtain the will of a person to make him agree. 

To create the term ‘Coercion’ a team or party must show that they had been forced to enter in to contract by a third party that they would not otherwise enter into. The key elements for performing coercion are as follows-

  • Threatening to commit the act or omission is surely punishable by the law.
  • Detention unlawfully on someone’s property.

Illustration regarding Coercion

  • X threatens Y to kill him if he does not come to sign the contract
  • X threatens Y to break his arms and legs if he does not come to sell his house.
  • X threatens Y to kidnap his son if he marries D.

A clear understanding of the term ‘Undue Influence

Undue influence comes to be defined as U/S 16 in the Indian Contract Act, of 1872. This term can come to occur in a position when one of the parties of a contract becomes a superior or dominating position. It is very important that the dominating position of the party provides and makes an unjust upper hand to grab the consent from the other party and it follows the ‘Doctrine of Equity’. The provision has also thrown light on the condition that a person always is said for dominating the followers. 

  • While one party of the contract comes evidently with authorization over the other.
  • While one party of the contract runs a fiduciary relationship over the other.
  • While one party of the contract comes to the contract for the case of temporary as well as permanent damage to the mental dimension. 

A ‘fiduciary relationship’ is defined as a relationship in which a party keeps a special trust, reliance, and confidence & even is influenced by another person who has fiduciary responsibility for the act of benefit of the party.’

Illustrations in the case of Undue Influence to know the difference between Coercion and undue influence

  • X, a Son, forces his father just to transfer his all properties in X’s name.
  • X, a man, influenced by age or disease, is induced By Y’s influence over him as his attendant in need of having him just to pay an unreasonable sum for his profession. Here Y employs becomes an undue influence. 

How can you understand Undue Influence?

Undue influence becomes a situation under which one person influences the free will of someone else by using his position of him as well as authority over the other person in which the forces of another person take place to agree. Mental pressure as well as a moral force are completely involved in it. 

The parties related to the contract are completely fiduciary which goes to a relation each to other like a master–servant, trustee – beneficiary, solicitor – Client and doctor–patient. The dominant party tries to follow the decisions of the weaker party just to take unclear advantage of its position. The weaker party can go to enforce it if he sees a potential benefit in it. 

Example – A teacher makes forces his students just to sell his new brand of watch at a very normal price for good grades in the examination. According to the situation, the consent of the student comes affected by the influence. 

Potential Differences Between Coercion and Undue Influence

The key differences between coercion and undue influence are as follows:

  • The act of threatening a person just to induce him or her to enter an agreement becomes coercion. The act of persuading another individual with an advantage of position by the weaker party is called ‘Undue Influence’.
  • The term ‘Coercion’ is described in section 15 of the Indian contract Act, but Undue Influence is described in section 16 of the Indian Contract Act, of 1872.
  • The benefit received from Coercion is to be reserved back to the other party. Conversely, the benefit received in undue influence comes to be returned for the party under the direction according to the court. 
  • The party employed under coercion is criminally liable by the rule of IPC. On the other hand, the party who is under the undue influence is not liable under IPC.


Coercion and Undue Influence are the barriers through the path of free consent of the parties that should be an essential element for a contract. But undoubtedly, there must be a difference between Coercion and Undue Influence and it should be known by all. Follow the details mentioned above and go straight forward with your professional work. 

Read Also:

Explain types of contracts under the Indian contract act 1872

Difference between a Void and a Voidable Contract under the Contract Act

Difference Between Contract And Agreement In Contract Law

About Sandeep Bhatt

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