Essential Elements of Consideration
1. It should be furnished at the desire of the promisor
The first essential element in the definition of ‘Consideration’ is that the act or forbearance of the promise or any other person must be done at the desire or request of the promisor. The desire of the promisor can be implied from the conduct of the parties. Distinction must be made between purely voluntary acts and acts done at the instance of the other party. Acts done on the request of a third person or without the desire of a promisor,i.e Voluntary acts would not constitute good consideration in the eyes of law. It is not necessary that the promisor himself should be benefited by the consideration.
2. It may move from the promisee or any other person:
It is not necessary that consideration should proceed only from the promisee. It furnished by a third party will also be valid if it has en done at the desire of the promisor. This is termed as ‘Doctrine of Constructive Consideration’.
3. It may be a promise to do something or abstain from doing something
It may be either negative or positive,i.e. an act to do or not to do something.
4. It may be past,present or future
Where the promisor had received consideration before the date of the promise,It is termed as ‘Past consideration’.
5. There must be an independent consideration to support each independent promise
A single consideration cannot support two agreements between the same parties unless one of the agreements is a gratuitous promise. There must be as many considerations as the number of contracts. Each agreement in order to be binding must be supported by an independent consideration of its own. It is immaterial that contract is between the same parties.
6. It must be real and not illusory,illegal,impossible,uncertain,ambiguous,fraudulent,opposed to public policy
Compromising disputed claims,forbearing to sue or to exercise an actually existing and enforceable right are all good considerations for fresh promises. But,when there is a pre-existing legal obligation on the part of the promisee by which he is bound to do something and does it,that act cannot be a competent consideration for a promise.
It is always given in exchange of some benefit accruing or to make good the injury caused to the other party. It should not be fraudulent,forbidden by law or immoral or opposed to public policy.
7. It must be valuable in the eyes of law
It must be capable of being valued in terms of money or money’s worth. It must result in gain to one and loss to other. Sand near the river bank has no value but the moment it is bought near the building site,it acquires value. Oxygen is a free gift of nature and ,therefore,has no value. But the moment it is packed in gas cylinders and is supplied to the hospitals it acquires value.