The Doctrine of Estoppel in the Indian Evidence Act holds that a person cannot contradict a fact they have previously asserted through words or conduct. This doctrine is guided by the maxim ‘allegans contraria non est audiendus,’ meaning contrary allegations will not be heard.
KINDS OF ESTOPPEL
- Estoppel by Record or Judgment :- Arises from a final decision of a competent court. It aligns with the Principle of Res judicata, preventing the same matter from being reopened by the same parties. Section 40 governs the admissibility of such judgments.
- Estoppel by Deed :- This feature of English law applies when parties to a formally executed and sealed deed cannot deny its validity. Not applicable in India.
- Estoppel by Matter in Pais or Conduct :- “In pais” refers to matters before the public. This type of estoppel applies when acts or conduct induce a change of position based on the parties’ intentions.
ESSENTIALS OF ESTOPPEL
To establish Estoppel, three key elements must exist:-
- There must be a representation.
- The representation must be made with the intention to be acted upon.
- The representation must have been acted upon, resulting in a change of position by the second party.
WHEN ESTOPPEL DOES NOT APPLY
Estoppel does not apply in certain situations, including :-
- Criminal or quasi-criminal cases.
- Against statutes, sovereign acts, or points of law.
- When both parties are aware of the truth of the facts.
- Against minors.
- When fraud or negligence is present on the part of the party pleading estoppel.
- In cases of unlawful property transfers.
ESTOPPEL OF TENANT AND LANDLORDS (SECTION 116)
This section deals with Estoppel in Landlord-Tenant relationships. If a tenant acknowledges their landlord’s title, they cannot deny it in a subsequent lawsuit.
ESTOPPEL OF ACCEPTOR OF BILLS OF EXCHANGE ,BAILEE,OR LICENSEE (SECTION 117)
This section addresses specific types of Estoppel. It stipulates that individuals like acceptors of bills of exchange, bailees, or licensees are estopped from denying the rights of the persons from whom they derive their authority or license.
In summary, Sections 115 to 117 of the Indian Evidence Act establish the concept of Estoppel, which prevents individuals from contradicting facts they have previously declared or acted upon. These sections ensure fairness and consistency in legal proceedings, especially in cases involving contracts, property, and specific relationships like landlord-tenant or those involving bills of exchange.