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Introduction:

According to Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, estoppel occurs when one person, through an act, omission, or declaration, has convinced another person that something is true and convinced them to take action based on that belief. The truth of that statement cannot under any circumstances be disputed by that individual or his representative in the lawsuit or during the proceedings. Estoppel is a legal notion that basically means one cannot dispute, contradict, or declare incorrect the preceding statement he made in court. 

Estoppel in Indian Evidence Act, Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872

Estoppel is defined in Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. It claims that-

Estoppel's primary condition is that the person be made to perform in accordance with the promises given to him. It doesn't matter if the individual producing the representation is aware of it or has a reason for doing so. Furthermore, it is not required for the representation to be false or to have been created out of ignorance or misperception.

Estoppel is described as a legal principle that forbids someone from retracting statement they made in court earlier on. Estoppel, according to the court in Pickard v. Sears, occurs when:

  • One party makes a representation through his or her words or actions.
  • The other party cannot retract what he previously said if the other party, believing what he said, acts on it or changes his viewpoint.

According to the ruling in the case of Pratima Chowdhury v. Kalpana Mukherjee, the third clause's change in the position must be so significant that returning to the previous one would be illegal or unfair in the eyes of the law.

Unless the representation was made specifically with him in mind or was made in a way that anybody may act on, the principle of estoppel would not apply to a person who learned about it via a second party.

For instance, Tarak Mehta, the CEO of a telecom business, declares that 200 rupees would provide you a year's worth of unlimited talk time when you recharge your phone. Upon noticing the advertisement, Mr. Atmaram, a seller, got to work diligently and collected the requisite sum. As a result, the recharge of the specified amount was completed. He protested that the deal had ended on his phone after two months. Later, he discovers that the business has revoked its previous policy and shortened the deadline to 1.5 months. He would be subject to the estoppel theory since he had depended on the promises provided to him.

Estoppel in the Indian Evidence Act: Key Concepts

The following crucial components of estoppels are evident from the definition given above:

  • A person misrepresents through their actions, omissions, or statements,
  • Such distortion relates to any fact's existence;
  • Such deception is made with the goal of leading someone to believe anything;
  • The other individual thinks that such false information is accurate;
  • The other person follows such misrepresentation's lead and performs something;
  • Such behaviour harms the other person;
  • Such a person is blind to the truth of the circumstance.

Types of estoppels under the Indian Evidence Act

Estoppel by record - Any competent court's decision establishes it. When a court makes a final decision about a matter, the decision is binding on the parties, their representatives, executors, administrators, etc. They are not permitted to contest the same issue or file another lawsuit on the same subject. This is prevented from happening. Similar to res judicata.

Estoppel by deed- When one person is made liable for the actions of another based on a record of a few facts, neither that person nor anybody suing on their behalf is permitted to dispute the claim.

Estoppel by conduct – This is a type of estoppel that results from an action, conduct, or false statement made by a party. The first person is prevented from refuting the veracity of his earlier claims when he causes another person to believe through his words or conductor encourages them to believe and the other person acts upon that belief and changes their situation. In actuality, this is a broad estoppel.

Equitable estoppel – This is the term for such estoppels that are not authorised by a statute. The Transfer of Property Act of 1882's Sections 41 and 43 are the best illustrations of equitable estoppels.

Promissory Estoppel - This is a type of exception to consideration that has its roots in the area of contract law. The person making the promise must refrain from claiming that his promise was made in the absence of any consideration if the other party modifies his stance as a result of the promise to give the first party some relief or profit.

Case Laws Concerning the Estoppel Doctrine

The following significant case laws pertain to the doctrine of estoppel:

  • Life Insurance Corporation v. O.P. Bhalla and Ors

In Life Insurance Corporation O.P. Bhalla and Ors., the policy expired since the assured did not pay the second instalment. Later, the business accepted the third and fourth instalments as well as the second instalment with interest. The assured's passing ultimately brought this policy to a stop. The assured's nominee sued the corporation for the insured sum. It was discovered that the assured had undergone an operation before to signing a contract with the company, which he failed to disclose to the insurer. The assured would not be able to raise the defence of estoppel, according to the court, because he kept the information on him. The defence that saying it wouldn't have changed if it hadn't been accepted.

  • Sanatan Gauda v. Bharampur University

The student in Sanatan Gauda v. Bharampur University [48] enrolled in a law school and successfully finished his two years. In his senior year, the university opposed to the release of his pre- and intermediate exam results on the grounds that he was ineligible. The student acquired the card needed to write his final exam at the same time as he filed all the necessary paperwork for admittance. The university would be prohibited from doing so, i.e., announcing the outcome of that student, the court ruled.

Conclusion:

The legal concept of estoppel gives every person who tries to make false representations to others and induces them to act on it by cultivating their faith in them an incentive to do so by not performing such acts, otherwise they would be held liable, and incur losses as a result of such false representations.


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