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Order of performance of reciprocal promises

According to Sec 52, “where the order in which reciprocal promises are to be performed is expressly fixed by the contract, they shall be performed in that order; and where the order is not expressly fixed by the contract, they shall be performed in the order in which the nature of the transaction requires”



Pavan and Gagan contracted that Pavan shall construct a house for Gagan at a fixed price. In this case, the nature of the contract requires that Pavan’s promise to construct the house must be performed before Gagan’s promise to pay for it. Thus, Pavan must first construct the house, only then can he claim the price from Gagan.

Conditional and dependent

In conditional and dependent reciprocal promises, the performance of the promise by one party depends upon the prior performance of the promise by the other party. If the party who is bound to perform his promise first, fails to perform it, then he cannot claim performance from the other party. Moreover, the defaulting party becomes liable to pay the compensation to the other party for the loss suffered by the other on account of the non-performance of the contract [Sec. 54].



Lucky hired Ali’s ship for taking and conveying certain goods from Calcutta to Mauritius. Lucky agreed to provide the goods at the Calcutta port, and Ali agreed to convey them to Mauritius after receiving the freight. Lucky did not provide the goods for the ship. In this case, Lucky cannot claim the performance of Ali’s promise. He must compensate Ali for the loss, which Ali sustained due to the non-performance of the contract.

Mutual and concurrent

Mutual and concurrent promises are to be performed simultaneously. Thus, the promisor is not bound to perform his promise unless the promisee is ready and willing to perform his part of promise [Sec. 51]. In other words, the mutual and concurrent reciprocal promises must be performed simultaneously i.e. at the same time.



All cash sales are examples of simultaneous or concurrent promises, as the delivery of goods and the payment of price take place simultaneously.

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