The Doctrine of Estoppel: Its Meaning, Types, and Exceptions

The Doctrine of Estoppel: Its Meaning, Types, and Exceptions
The Doctrine of Estoppel: Its Meaning, Types, and Exceptions

What is Estoppel? 

The Indian Evidence Act of 1872 lays down all the rules and regulations required for admitting any kind of evidence in a court of law. In any lawsuit or procedure between himself and that person or his representation, neither he nor his representative may contest the veracity of the such statement, according to Section 115. Estoppel is described as “when one person purposefully causes or permits another person to think a matter to be true and to act upon such belief by his declaration, conduct, or omission.”In simple terms, restraint has been put on the person that he is in no position to deny the truth of the statement and further allege it to be false to the other person when the proceedings of a suit are going on.


Essentials of Estoppel

  1. A person misrepresents an existing fact to another by the way of act, omission, or declaration.
  2. The misrepresentation should be caused with an intention.
  3. The victim i.e. another person genuinely believes this misrepresentation and dies some action towards it.
  4. The act caused by the misrepresentation inflicts harm to the victim or he suffers a loss. 


Types of Estoppel

There are primarily 6 types of estoppel that one needs to know about which are explained as follows- 

  1. Estoppel through the record- this is regarding courts. When a court gives its judgement in any suit of law, the parties to the suit shall accept the court’s decision and have become bound to it. They are not permitted to bring the suit again whether on the same subject or claim it to be disputed. They are simply stopped to further continue.
  2. Estoppel through deed- Neither that person nor any person claiming through him shall be permitted to reject it when any person is bound to another person as a result of a record of a few facts.
  3. Estoppel through conduct- is that kind of estoppel that results from a party’s actions, behaviour, or deception. The first person is prevented from refuting the veracity of his previous claims when he causes another person to believe via his words or conduct encourages them to believe and the other person acts upon that belief and changes their circumstances. In actuality, this is broad estoppel.
  4. Equitable estoppel- This legal principle would prevent a person from trying to take legal action that would conflict with his prior comments, claims, or actions. Therefore, the plaintiff would be barred from suing the defendant who carried out the plaintiff’s instructions.
  5. Estoppel by negligence- This theory enables one party to assert a claim to another party’s property, even if that party may not have it. This shows that the person being stopped has an obligation to the person he misled into thinking they were friends.
  6. Estoppel based on law- Only the facts are covered by the doctrine of estoppel; legislation is excluded. Estoppel would be against public policy and the overall welfare of society if it were applied to the law. Never attempt to circumvent legal requirements by using the estoppel concept.

Estoppel vs Promissory Estoppel

The Indian Evidence Act’s Section 115–117 addresses estoppel, which occurs when a representation of a fact is made with the consent of both parties. It can only be used as a defence and has also been mentioned in the Law of Torts.

On the other hand, The Indian Contract Act of 1872 contains a reference to promissory estoppel, which is when a representation of a future intent is made and supported by subsequent behaviour of the parties rather than prior consideration. A claim for damages may be made using promissory estoppel.


Exceptions to Estoppel

  1. When each party knows the truth.
  2. Estoppel should not contradict statutes and regulations and cannot be applied to them.
  3. Does not apply to sovereign acts of government.

Written by Avantika Mandar Chavan

Her name is Avantika Mandar Chavan a 2nd year law student currently pursuing her BBA LLB from Jindal Global Law school. She has a keen interest in various laws particularly ones concerning Mediation & Arbitration and IPR. She also likes to keep updated with current affairs and news related to  International organizations.

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