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Report No. 108

2.2. An illustrative case.-

In this case1, C contracted to buy a certain number of gunny bags from the appellant, and 107,500 bags remained undelivered as C was unable to pay for them. When C represented that arrangements had been made for the payment for 87,500 bags, delivery orders were given to C for delivery against payment. C's representative took a letter, from C to the appellant requesting the appellant to direct delivery of the bags to the representative of the respondent who went along with C's representative. The officer in charge of the appellant did so. The reason was that the respondent had agreed to advance the necessary money to C. The appellant delivered 50,000 bags to the representative of the respondent but refused to deliver the rest, because, C had failed to pay the price.

Thereupon, the respondent sued the appellant for delivery of the remaining bags alleging that they had advanced the money to C on the appellant's representation that the goods will be delivered. The High Court decreed the suit holding that as the delivery in favour of the respondent had been assented to by the appellant, the appellant was estopped from denying that the appellant held the goods, answering to the description in the delivery orders, at the disposal of the person to whom the orders were given, that is, the representative of the respondent. In answer to the contention that no estoppel could arise in the case, because, section 115, Evidence Act, was not applicable, the Court observed:2

"'Estoppels' in the sense in which the term is used in English legal phraseology, are matter of infinite variety, and are by no means confined to subjects which are dealt with in Chapter VIII of the Evidence Act. A man may be estopped not only from giving particular evidence, but from doing acts, or relying upon any particular arguments of contention which the rules of equity and good conscience prevent him from using as against his opponent."

The law relating to estoppel, as stated above, appears to be too widely stated in the following observation of the Supreme Court:2

"We doubt whether the Court while determining whether the conduct of a particular person amounts to an estoppel, could travel beyond the provisions of section 115 of the Evidence Act and rely upon what is sometimes called 'equitable estoppel'."

But assuming that the law, as stated by the Calcutta High Court, is correct, the point to be noted is that it was a case between private parties.

1. 1880 ILR 5 Cal 669.

2. 1880 ILR 5 Cal 669 (678).

3. Maddnappa v. Chandramma, AIR 1965 SC 1812

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