Introduction of the Doctrine of Estoppel under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872: An estoppel occurs when a party is barred from alleging or proving in a legal proceeding that a fact is not what it appears to be, regardless of whether it is true or not. “estoppel or conclusion,” as the authorities commonly referred to, can be defined as a disability in which, in a legal proceeding, a party is not prohibited from alleging or demonstrating that it appears to be a fact, whether it is true or not.
Estoppel is defined by the equity principle. Sections 115,116, and 117 of the Indian Evidence Act address the doctrine of estoppel. Allowing one person to speak contrary to his previous statement would be extremely inequitable and unjust. Because it would cause the person who acted on such a statement to suffer loss and harm.
The estoppel doctrine is intended to prevent one person from defrauding another.
Definition of the Doctrine of Estoppel
Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act defines estoppel as follows: “Where a person intentional caused or allowed another person, by his or her declaration, act or omission, to believe, to or to act on that conviction, neither the person nor its representative is permitted to refuse to do so in any proceedings between such person or his or her representative.
For the doctrine of estoppel to be applied, the following conditions must be met:-
To form the basis of the Estoppel
It must be a representative: The representative may be made either by I) statement or by (ii) conduct and behavior, and negligence is included. However, some general suggestions can be used in any situation.
The intention of being acted upon
It must be made with the intention of being acted upon: The representation does not have to be false to the knowledge of the party making it as long as it is made with the intent of being acted upon.
- The person making the representation must be acted according to the way it has been done; or
- The person who makes the representation must conduct himself so as to be true to a reasonable person and believe it to be done accordingly.
The doctrine of estoppels by representation was held to apply in B. Colema & Co. vs P. Dass Gupta, AIR 1970 in the majority of cases except where representation is the contract or licence of the party that makes it possible.
Act on the following
The representative must act on the following: In order to invoke the advantages of estoppel, the representation must be shown to be true by the party to whom it was made. Estoppel can only arise if a party has changed his position on the basis of another’s representation or promise.
Another person who has not been represented cannot be exploited. The complaining party is not sufficient when the representation does not seem to have been influenced according to the truth of the representation. The complaining party, On the other hand, it is not an answer to say that he must know that if he thought about the truth of the performance, then he must know that he was untrue.
Sarat Chandar Dey vs. Gopal Chnadra Laha (1892) 19 IA 203, decided the case
A widow owned property under hibanamah (Hiba-bil-ewaz), which her husband executed in her favour. She mortgaged the property during the transaction, and her son acted in a legal role on her behalf. under a power of attorney. He signed the mortgage in her name and on her behalf, and the mortgagee paid him. The mortgagee filed suit, and the appellant purchased the property in accordance with the decree of execution. Meanwhile, the respondent’s son, who claimed to be the owner of the property, sold him a portion of it, and the respondent filed a suit for partition and possession of the portion he purchased.
Indian evidence creates an estoppel
The following provisions in Indian evidence create estoppel: Section 116 A tenant’s estoppel and a person in possession’s license.
No holder of the immovable property of a person claiming the tenant’s title at the beginning of the tenancy may deny that the tenant’s landlord had a title to such immovable property and no person who entered into the immovable property under the license of that tenant may deny that such person has a tenancy.
Estoppel by a bill of exchange
Acceptor, Bailee, or Licensed Person
Section 117 addresses additional instances of estoppel by agreement. An accepter of an exchange bill cannot deny that the drawer is authorized under this section to draw or approve the bill. However, he may refuse to accept the fact that the person who claims to have drawn the bill. A bailee or licensee cannot say that at the beginning of the bailment or the permit, his bailor or licensee was not entitled to make the bailment or grant a license. If, on the other hand, a bailee delivers the bailed goods to a third party, he may prove that the third party had a right to them as opposed to the bailor.
Types of Estoppel
The principle of estoppel in English law is divided into three categories:
Estoppel based on the record:
Estoppel by record occurs when a competent court issues a decision stating that the issues decided cannot be reopened by a party to the judgment or his representative. In India, we use the principle of res judicata instead of this rule to achieve the same result.
Estoppel by deed:
In India, there is no estoppel by deed. Since English law values acts, a person can’t contradict himself later, if he makes a statement in an act. This means that a person can’t refuse his statement if he enters into a deal and his statement is included in it.
Estoppel by conduct
(In pais de hors instrument or, more often, estoppel in pais): if a person induces someone to believe that a thing exists and causes him to act on it, then that person (speaking for instance the person who has inducted someone else) is prevented from denying that.
Estoppels of Other Kinds
The phrase is commonly used, and it is argued that it is incorrectly used. When the true state of affairs differs from what is constructed, the adjective “constructive” is used. For example, a document registration serves as constructive notice of its contents under the Transfer of Property Act. A person may not know anything about the document or its content, but it is assumed that all knowledge is registered, because, if one wished for it, it could be acquired. When used with estoppels, the adjective is incorrect. The conditions of estoppels are either present, in which case the principal operates, or they are not present, in which case the principal does not operate.
Estoppel by Election
Occurs when a plurality of inconsistent or otherwise inconsistent gifts or rights exists, and the party which makes gifts or creates them exhibits by express or implied invitation that only one of them, not both, must be endowed with the person receiving or claiming the right. The person making the decision cannot change his mind and choose the other after making it. It can also happen when someone is unable to approve or reprobate a document under the same instrument.
Estoppel by silence
If A and B are parties to a litigation, and A argue that B is prevented from raising a specific plea, and B in its turn claims that A is prohibited from raising another case and that each case is established for the application of the estoppels if the two estoppels are not separable, and the resulting estoppel is silent.