The Doctrine of Consideration and the Quid Pro Quo Exchange


 I scratch your back, you scratch mine—how must these services relate in order to form a quid pro quo exchange? In a typical quid pro quo trade, each party promises to do their part in exchange for the other party doing theirs; each party’s readiness to perform is conditional on the other’s readiness to perform; and each considers the other as required to execute their share in light of their agreement. However, not all exchanges are routine, and a thorough examination is essential for both practical and theoretical purposes. Quid pro quo appears prominently in a wide range of contexts—civil as well as criminal, public as well as private—and is at the heart of a number of quality debates involving governmental corruption, insider trading, and other issues.

Quid-pro-quo under contract law:

A consideration, which might be a product, service, money, or financial instrument, is essential in a quid pro quo commercial deal. Such considerations are related to a contract in which something is offered in exchange for something of equal worth. Without such factors, a court may rule that a contract is defective or unenforceable. Furthermore, if the arrangement looks to be unjust or too one-sided, the courts may declare the contract unlawful and void. Any individual, corporation, or other transacting entity should be aware of the expectations of both parties when entering into a contract.

Section 2 (d) of the Indian Contract Act of 1872 defines consideration as “when the promisor, the promisee, or any other person has done or abstained from doing, or does or abstains from doing, or promises to do or abstain from doing something, such act or abstinence is called a consideration for the promisee.”

In layman’s terms, the preceding definition includes:

1. The action of accomplishing something.

Example: A guarantees B money for products that B wants to sell to C on credit. Thus, in this situation, B sells items to C in exchange for A’s commitment.

2. The act of abstaining from doing or refraining from doing something.

For example, A assures B that if he pays Rs. 500, he would not complain to his parents about him skipping college. As a result, A is the consideration for B’s payment in this scenario.

3. A guarantee of a return.

A offers to sell his dog to B for Rs. 8000 as an example. Thus, B’s promise to pay Rs. 8000 is the consideration for A’s promise to sell the dog, and similarly, A’s promise to sell the dog is the consideration for B’s promise to pay Rs. 8000.

Significance of consideration or quid pro quo agreement:

One of the most significant elements of a contract is the consideration clause, which explains why each party is participating in the arrangement. Consideration can be defined as the exchange of money for goods or services, or as the exchange of one sort of product for another. Consideration may also be a pledge to do or not do anything, such as refrain from filing a lawsuit. Consideration must be valued and something you wouldn’t have without the agreement in order to be successful.

The worth of the consideration must be objectively established, but the courts have routinely refused to consider its appropriateness. Furthermore, the promise of future service is a sufficient assessment of the service. As a result, in order to convert a mere commitment made in his favors into an enforceable contract, the promisee must contribute something in exchange for the promisor’s promise.


Consideration is a benefit that must be negotiated between the parties and is the primary motivation for one party to engage into a contract with another. The consideration must be valuable, and it must be exchanged for the other party’s performance or promise of performance (such performance itself is consideration). One consideration (something supplied) is exchanged for another consideration in a contract. Acts that are illegal or sufficiently unethical that they violate accepted public policy cannot be used as consideration for legally binding contracts.

[i]When the intended consideration is found to be worth less than expected, is damaged or destroyed, or performance is not done correctly, contracts may become unenforceable or rescindable for failure of consideration. Acts that are illegal or sufficiently unethical that they violate accepted public policy cannot be used as consideration for legally binding contracts.

  1. Avtar Sing, Law of Contract and Specific Relief,
  2. Indian Contract Act, 1872
  3. www. student (29 February,2012, 6.00pm)

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

You may also like to read:

My Hangover – #TheBookBlogTrain – Aishwarya Sandeep

Sexual Harassment – Aishwarya Sandeep

Things you should never say to a pregnant woman – Aishwarya Sandeep

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