The Supreme Court has held that the proviso 6 to Section 92 of the Evidence Act will not apply if a document is straightforward, without any ambiguity in meaning. Section 92 of the Evidence Act bars giving oral evidence concerning the contents of a written document. However, proviso 6 to Section 92 allows the admission of facts external to the document, which shows how the language of a document is related to existing facts.
The Supreme Court was considering an appeal in which the question was whether the agreement in the case should be interpreted as a license to run a business or a license to occupy the rented premises in which the business was located. If the agreement were a leave and license agreement to occupy the rented premises, a civil suit would not have been maintainable, and the matter would have to go to the special court under the Bombay Rent Act.
The Bombay High Court held the agreement to be a leave and license agreement to occupy the rented premises by relying on proviso 6 to Section 92 and Section 95 of the Evidence Act. Hence, the High Court had held that the civil suit is not maintainable.
Section 95 states that when the language used in a document is plain in itself but is insignificant about existing facts, evidence may show that it was used in a peculiar sense.
In an appeal against the High Court judgment, the Supreme Court held that it was clear from the reading of the contract that the parties had intended to transfer business from the appellant to the respondent and was not meant as a lease or license for the respondent to conduct business. The Supreme Court also held that reliance on proviso 6 to Section 92 and Section 95 was not called for in the case as the document was clear in its meaning.
Holding so, the top court set aside the High Court judgment and restored the trial court decree, which had directed the respondent to hand over the premises to the appellant.
Case Title: Mangala Waman Karandikar (D) TR. LRS vs.Prakash Damodar Ranad.
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