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Report No. 185

Section 93

This section deals with 'exclusion of evidence to explain or amend ambiguous document'. This section and Section 94-98 deal with interpretation of documents. Section 93 reads as follows:

"93. When the language used in a document is, on its face, ambiguous or defective, evidence may not be given of facts which would show its meaning or supply its defects."

There are two illustrations below Section 93.

This section does not affect any of the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 as to construction of wills, contained in sections 74 to 111 of that Act.

Section 93 refers to ambiguity or defect 'on its face'. This is known as 'patent ambiguity' as distinct from 'latent ambiguity. Latent ambiguities are referred to in sections 95, 96 and 97.

Illustration (b) refers to a document the language of which is so vague or defective on its face as to convey no meaning and illustration (b) refers to inherent ambiguity leading to mere speculation as to intention. Extrinsic evidence is not admissible to explain 'patent' ambiguity.

Under Section 29 of the Contract Act too, agreements, the meaning of which is not certain or capable of being made certain, are void.

In Keshavlal v. Lalbhai AIR 1958 SC 512, it was held that if, on a fair construction, the condition mentioned in the document appears to be vague or uncertain, no evidence can be admitted to remove the said evidence or ambiguity.

In the 69th Report, it was stated (see para 44.21) that Section 93 does not require any change. We agree.

Review of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

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