Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act: An analysis

Introduction to Section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act

When one individual has, by his declaration, act, and omission, purposefully brought on or allowed someone else to trust a thing to be valid and to follow up on such conviction, neither he nor his delegate might be permitted, in any suit or continuing amongst himself and such individual or his agent, to prevent reality from claiming that thing.” says section 115 of the Indian Evidence act.

This rule of evidence is incorporated in section 115 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and is subsumed in the act through a common law doctrine that is the doctrine of Estoppel. The doctrine of Estoppel has its roots in Latin maxim “alleganscontraria non estaudiendus” (a person alleging contradictory facts should not be heard).

By this doctrine of Estoppel, it is meant that where one party has by his words or conduct made to the other an unmistakable and unequivocal promise which is expected to make legal relations or impact a lawful relationship to emerge later on, knowing or intending that it would be followed up on by the other party to whom the guarantee is made and it is in certainty so followed upon by the other party, the promise would be binding on the party making it and he would not be entitled to go back upon it. It is redundant, with a specific end goal to pull in the appropriateness of the principle of estoppel that the promisee acting independent of the guarantee, ought to endure any weakness. The main essential is that the promisee ought to have modified his position independent of the guarantee.

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To put it simply we can say that, the section implies that when a man by his words or by his action makes a representation to another that specific condition of things is valid and actuates him to follow up on that conviction and when the other individual depending upon the representation change his previous position, then the individual making such representation would be estopped from precluding reality from claiming his previous representation.

The principles of estoppel were laid down in the landmark case of Picard v. Sears[1], which are as follows: “When one party by his words or actions makes a representation and the other believing in his words, acts on that or alters his position, then the former party will not be allowed to deny the representation previously made by him.

There are four essential of section 115, that is

  1. There must be some representation.
  2. The representation must be made with the aim to be followed up on.
  3. The representation must be followed up on.
  4. Such activity ought to have been negative to the interests of the individual whom the representation has been made.

It has been held in the case of PratimaChowdhary v. Kalpana Mukherjee,[2] that the altering should be of such a nature that going back on the previous position would be considered unjust in the eyes of law.


The representation is one of the elements for application of estoppel. It might be a declaration, act or omission. The representation additionally covers proclamation—oral or written and conduct—active or passive. It additionally incorporates carelessness. The individual who made the representation ought not to be permitted to deny or revoke the impact of his previous proclamation to the misfortune and harm of the individual who followed up on it.

Representation identifies with truth, not of law

The representation ought to be of actuality and not on the matter of law. By this part of the section, one can say that representation which could be estoppel must be related to the fact of the matter and shall nothing to do with the law.

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The representation must be followed up on

The representation, more likely, not have been followed up on by the inverse party. To profit the advantage of estoppels, it must be demonstrated that the representation was appropriately followed up on. It must be shown that some change in the position of the party took place, only them estoppel can be claimed.[3]

The activity being impeding

It is also important to demonstrate that the gathering to whom the representation was made has endured detriment. An individual who has not endured disadvantage by following up on the representation of the parties can’t summon the principle of estoppel.

If the second party (to whom representation is made) recognizes that the representation is a false one, then he would not be entitled to the application of the doctrine of estoppel.[4]

The basic idea of this section is a man must keep his word and must be responsible for the consequences of his conduct when other men have construed his trust in him.

General Conditions of Estoppel

  1. Estoppels must be mutual: This appears to imply that an estoppel must tie both sides to the prosecution.
  2. Estoppels can’t evade the law: Subsequently, the legally binding insufficiency of a minor can’t be dodged by any estoppel against stating his Infancy, even in spite of the fact that he has gotten an advance by a false representation that he was an adult. And an inhabitant, who neglects to raise a defence that his lease is in an overabundance of the standard lease allowed by statute, is not estopped from making a consequent application to decide the legal rent.
  3. Estoppels must be certain: The statement that an estoppel must be clear, exact or unambiguous principally alludes to the representation on which an estoppel by lead might be founded.
  4. Clashing Estoppels Cancel each Other: If two estoppels have a conflict or are clashing, then they can cancel each Other.
  5. Satisfying Doctrine of Estoppel: The doctrine of estoppel is an equitable doctrine and the plaintiff cannot ask the Court to apply the same to compel something which is unjust, one who seeks equity must do equity.
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Section 115 of Indian evidence act has its roots in the English law doctrine, doctrine of estoppel. In simple words, this section says if one has done some representation by any means to other and relying upon that second person act and suffered any harm, then the person who made false representation cannot deny the fact of that thing. There are few important ingredients of this section that are:- there must be some representation; the representation must be made with the aim to be acted upon, the representation must be acted and such action ought to have been a detriment. This section is based on the principle of equity and justice.

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[1] Pickard v. Sears, (1837) 6 Ad & EL 469.

[2] Pratima Chowdhury v. Kalpana Mukherjee, AIR 2014 SC 1304.

[3] Mahindra v. Union of India, AIR 1979 SC 798.

[4] Permanand v. ChampaLal, AIR 1965 All 225.

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