DATE OF JUDGMENT:
07th May 2021
Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, Justice Aniruddha Bose
Mangala Waman Karandikar (D) TR. LRS. (Petitioner)
Prakash Damodar Ranade (Respondent)
In the following judgment, Supreme Court held that when the provisions of the contract are evident and simple, there's no necessity for looking into the extrinsic evidence, when doing so will only vitiate the legal interpretation.
- The present case emerged based on the contract between the petitioner and the Respondent. Before the petitioner's husband died he was running a business in the name of "Karandikar Siblings" and after he died the petitioner maintained the business.
- When she was not able to maintain the business, she let the respondent deal with it. Later they went into a contract which was being stretched out occasionally. In the year 1980, she served a notification to the respondent to clear the premises by 31.01.1981.
- The respondent asserted that the contract was a rent arrangement in a strict sense. Distressed by a similar the appealing party documented a civil suit before the court of Joint civil judge.
- The trial court gave a judgment in favor of the petitioner and held that the agreement was to create sales in business. The Trial Court requested the respondent to surrender the suit property to the petitioner. On appeal before the High Court of Bombay, it was held that the respondent went into a license arrangement under section 15A of the Bombay Rent Act.
The issue analyzed by the court – Whether the proviso to section 92 and 95 of the evidence act will be applied if the document is ambiguous or not clear?
- Section 92 of the Evidence Act: defines the exclusion of evidence of the oral agreements.
- Section 95 of the Evidence Act: states evidence as to document the unmeaning about the existing facts.
ANALYSIS OF THE JUDGEMENT
- In the appeal against the High Court judgment, the Supreme Court held that it was obvious from the perusing of the contract that the parties had expected to move the business from the appellant to the respondent and were not implied as rent or permit for the respondent to lead the business.
- The Supreme Court likewise held that dependence on provision 6 to section 92 and Section 95 was not called for in the case as the document was clear in its importance.
- "It is manifest from these two sections that it is just in cases where the details of the record leave the inquiry in question, at that point resort, could have to the proviso. In any case, when an archive is a clear one and presents no difficulty in understanding it, the proviso doesn't matter. In such a manner, we may express that Section 95 just expands on the proviso 6 of Section 92", a bench comprised of by the Chief Justice of India, Justice NV Ramana held.
- "If the contrary view is received as it would deliver Section 92 of the Evidence Act, it furthermore amplifies the ambit of proviso beyond the primary Section itself. Such interpretation, given by the High Court violates the fundamental tenant of lawful interpretation. Section 92 specifically prohibits the evidence of any oral agreement which would repudiate, differ, add to or subtract from its terms. If, as expressed by the learned judges, oral evidence could be gotten to show that the conditions of the record were truly different from those communicated in that, it would add up to agreeing with the authorityto offer evidence to negate or shift those terms and as such it comes surprisingly close to Section 92 of the Act. It couldn't be hypothesized that the legislature proposed to nullify the object of Section 92 by enacting exemptions for that section", the bench including Judges Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, added.
- The Supreme Court put away the High Court judgment and reestablished the trial court order, which had guided the respondent to surrender the premises to the petitioner.
After hearing both the parties, the Hon’ble Supreme Court opined that the contractual interpretation depends on the intentions expressed by the parties, and bringing out actual meaning is that the iterative process for the courts. While dredging out the intention of the parties it held that there was a transparent transfer of business from the appellant to the respondent and it had been meant neither as lease nor as a license. As per sections 92 and 95 of the Indian evidence act, only in cases where the terms of the document cause a doubt will one resort to the proviso. In cases where it's simple and clear the proviso wouldn't apply.
Relying on the case of Rohitash Kumar vs. Om Prakash Sharma, the court held that if the interpretation of the high court is taken, then there would violate the fundamental tenants of legal interpretation and enlarge the scope of proviso beyond section. Further, it held that section 92 explicitly prohibits any oral evidence which might contradict, vary, increase or subtract the terms. It also went on to carry that the ambit of section 95 isn't appreciated by the high court, by which the court only appreciated the evidence which amounts to the breach of contract and not the ambiguous language of the contract.
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