Dept disown its instructions - asks more money from client


Hi all,

Here is a very interesting case.

A person has to pay Rs. 20 lacs as dues to a certain department. Department asks  everyone to refer to their website before paying. The instructions say that Client can avail 50% discount of dues if he pays as per the methodology given. Accordingly, the client avails the discount and pays  Rs. 10 lacs which was the 50% dues.

Now the department says, those instructions were issued by Unauthorised Persons! Because, it was not issued by authorised people, department has asked him to pay the balance 10 lacs along with interest for 1 year.

Is this legally justified?

Can someone give me some case laws on how to defend this?

 
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Advocate

the stand of department is illogical and unjustified. has the department ever disown the listing or has ever denied on its site? what action department has taken against errant person? you can approach consumer court.
 
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The dept's stand is absolutely unjustifiable. Strange, unbelievable, but this is real. 

But, the dept says, since we didn't release it, it is void ab initio. We are not bound by it. Now you pay up.

Can you give some points or case laws to demolish dept's stand? 

 

 
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Advocate

The rule of estoppel shall apply in your case.
 
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Thanks sir, for your view.

Reg Promissory Estoppel, I read as follows:

The following are the essentials to make any promise binding on a department:
1. The dept makes the promise within the ambit of law.
2. There is an intention to enter into a legal relationship.
3. The other party must do an act in furtherance of that promise or is forbidden to do anything.

It is the Point 1 that is troubling. Because, the department says, it NEVER issued the instructions, and the instructions were void ab initio, and they consider it not within the ambit of law. They DID NOT make that promise at all. ('Someone' unauthorisedly did it, and the dept says it is a matter between the dept and this 'Someone'.) Their request to pay up the balance is based on as if this instructions did not exist at all.

Can we still use the Promissory Estoppel ?

 
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Advocate

You may take it that this representation was on site which was neve denied nor disputed neither removed by the department inspite of its knowledge and you have acted accordingly in the basis representation.
 
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Thanks !

IMHO, I and my seniors feel, the dept can escape promissory estoppel by saying 'You cannot force us to do something contrary to law.'

While researching, I read that there is a defense called 'Entrapment Estoppel' which is available in US.

Is there any Indian equivalent? 

 
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