In this time of pandemic almost everything has shifted to online. The education is online, corporations are working online. We don’t even need to go to shop physically to buy something. And so does in this flow the courts are virtual. In this trend of online things electronic contract has come into. We can say this is completely the era of E-Commerce. E-Commerce is a way of conducting business by totally using internet as a medium.
WHAT IS E-CONTRACT?
An E-contract (only electronic based no use of paper) is a type of contract formed in the course of e-commerce by the exchange of two parties using electronic means such as e-mail, telephones, and faxes. An individual should interact with an electronic agent, such as a computer program, website forms similar to telephonic conversations, or an exchange of at least two electronic agents organized to allow the existence of a contract.
WHAT ARE THE PARTIES IN E-CONTRACT?
The parties in E-contract are originator and addressee.
According to the Information Technology Act of 2008, an Originator is a person who sends, creates, stores, or communicates any electronic message to be sent, generated, stored, or transmitted to another person and does not include any Mediator while an Addressee is a person who is intended by the originator to receive the electronic record but does not include any Mediator.
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF E-CONTRACT?
1.The parties meet each other online rather than meeting physically.
2.There should not be any signature written by hand.
3.There is high risk in such contracts as there is no full security.
4. Digital signatures and online record is used as a proof in case of any dispute.
ELEMENTS OF E-CONTRACT
Offer: Section 2(a) of the Indian Contract Act of 1872 defines an offer. According to the definition, an offer is an expression of a person's willingness to enter into a legally binding contract with another party.
When a person responds via e-mail or fills out any online forms, they are making an offer for something. It is now up to the seller to accept or reject it, either by express confirmation or by any other means. All the provisions of Indian contract related to offer are applicable in E-Contract.
Acceptance: Except where the postal acceptance rule applies, a contract ends when an offer is accepted. The postal acceptance rule is an exception to the standard rule that acceptance of a contract must be communicated to the offeror before the contract is formed.
Acceptance of a contract is said to occur when the acceptance is posted, according to this rule. As a result, the communication of acceptance is complete, both on the part of the proposer when it is put in the course of transmission to him and on the part of the acceptor when the acceptance comes to the knowledge of the proposer, which is when the acceptance enters the designated computer resource.
Because there isn't much time in electronic contracts, revocation isn't an option. Mail is sent and received within a few minutes and at the same time.
Lawful consideration and object
According to the Indian Contract Act of 1872, there must be a lawful consideration for a contract to be valid. The same is true for e-contracts.
In today's world, once an item is supplied and payment is received, the consideration is carried out and the needs are met. In the case of online shopping sites that claim to be able to supply any product. Another issue is that contract law cannot always be fully applied in e-contracts when an autonomous computer is used.
The object for which the contract is formed should be lawful.
Consent should be free and should not be obtained by fraud, mistake or misinterpretation.
KINDS OF E-CONTRACT
Shrink Wrap agreements
Shrink wrap contracts are primarily used for software licencing agreements. In this case, the terms and conditions used to access such software products shall be enforced by the person purchasing it, with the initiation of the software product packaging up.
It is created when an online buyer or user clicks the I AGREE button on a webpage to purchase or download a specific programme. This is used in order to gain acceptance.
A browsing wrap agreement is also known as an agreement that is intended to bind two or more parties through the use of a website.
The COVID-19 has undoubtedly led to a significant increase in digitalization in India and other countries. We could see new things that were unbelievable to us, whether it was a paperless budget or paperless courts. However, the government is attempting to keep this digitalization process going so that more and more people can benefit from it and enter into various types of contracts via electronic mode, which is the New Normal.