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Report No. 185

Section 96

This section refers to 'evidence as to application of language which can apply to one only of several persons'. It reads as follows:

"96. When the facts are such that the language used might have been meant to apply to anyone, and could not have been meant to apply to more than one, of several persons or things, evidence may be given of facts which show which of these persons or things it was intended to apply to."

There are two illustrations below Section 96.

This section also deals with latent ambiguities. This is called 'interpreting an equivocation'.

Illustrations (a) and (b) of the section bring about the meaning of the section. They are as follows:

"(a) A agrees to sell to B, for Rs.1000/-, "my white horse". A has two white horses. Evidence may be given of facts which show which of them was meant.

(b) A agrees to accompany B to Hyderabad. Evidence may be given of facts showing whether Hyderabad in the Dekkan or Hyderabad in Sindh was meant."

Questions have arisen whether (a) 'blank space in a document can be filled by extrinsic evidence. Decided cases show that if the document is incomplete and does not disclose its intention or is blank on essentials, no extrinsic evidence is permissible (see Sarkar 15th Ed 1999 p. 1429).

We agree with the 69th Report, para 44.6 that the section does not require any amendment.

Review of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

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