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Chhiddu Vs. Carew and Company Limited - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in63Ind.Cas.138
AppellantChhiddu
RespondentCarew and Company Limited
Excerpt:
evidence act (i of 1872), section 98 - words used in particular locality in peculiar sense--oral evidence, admissibility of, to explain meaning. - - there is no object in stating plain facts in misleading terms and the defendant firm will be well advised in future not to trust to the courts discovering the technical meanings which they attach to ordinary words and to put what they have to say in words which are to be interpreted according to their meaning. it being well-known in the locality and by the contractors employed that the words 'rs. the appeal must, there fore, fail......of breadth. in other words, his contention is that if he supplied a hundred feet of planks six inches wide he would receive the same payment as if he supplied a hundred feet of planks twelve inches wide. under the contract the planks had to be not less than six inches and not more than twelve inches wide. so if the plaintiff's contention were accepted, he would have been a very foolish person if be supplied a plank more than six inches wide, as he would stand to gain more by keeping down to the minimum breadth. the defendant company's contention on the other hand is that the words 'rs. 9 per hundred yards' meant 'rs. 3 per one hundred square feet.' it is very difficult to understand why the defendant firm chose to frame their contract in this extraordinarily ambiguous manner. there.....
Judgment:

1. The dispute in the case out of which this appeal arises is as follows: The plaintiff-appellant, who is a small contractor of Shahjahanpur, agreed to supply to the defendant firm certain planks of uniform thickness, varying lengths and varying breadths at the rate of 'Rs. 9 per hundred yards,' The contest is with regard to the meaning of those words. The plaintiff-appellant states that he was to receive payment at the rate of Rs. 9 per hundred linear yards, i.e., at the rate of Rs. 3 per hundred running feet irrespective of breadth. In other words, his contention is that if he supplied a hundred feet of planks six inches wide he would receive the same payment as if he supplied a hundred feet of planks twelve inches wide. Under the contract the planks had to be not less than six inches and not more than twelve inches wide. So if the plaintiff's contention were accepted, he would have been a very foolish person if be supplied a plank more than six inches wide, as he would stand to gain more by keeping down to the minimum breadth. The defendant company's contention on the other hand is that the words 'Rs. 9 per hundred yards' meant 'Rs. 3 per one hundred square feet.' It is very difficult to understand why the defendant firm chose to frame their contract in this extraordinarily ambiguous manner. There is no object in stating plain facts in misleading terms and the defendant firm will be well advised in future not to trust to the Courts discovering the technical meanings which they attach to ordinary words and to put what they have to say in words which are to be interpreted according to their meaning. The Trial Court found that the plaintiff's contention was correct. The lower Appellate Court found that the defendant firm's contention was correct. The plaintiff comes here in second appeal. The lower Court admitted evidence to explain the meaning of the words 'Rs. 9 per one hundred yards.' If this evidence were rightly admitted, the finding of the lower Appellate Court as to the meaning of the words is a finding of fast which cannot be impugned in second appeal. So the whole controversy in this appeal is on one point only, namely, had the Courts the right to admit oral evidence to explain the meaning of the words in question. Ordinarily they would have no such right, but in this particular case oral evidence was admissible under the provisions of Section 98 of the Indian Evidence Act, as the words were used in a peculiar sense. Owing to the circumstance that the interpretation placed upon the words by the plaintiff, although the ordinary interpretation of the words in Urdu, involved the acceptance of the absurdity that the defendant, Company was ready to pay as much for planks six inches wide as they were ready to pay for planks twelve inches wide, the Court had a right to permit evidence to clear up the point. This circumstance sufficiently shows that the words were used in a peculiar sense. The evidence produced established that for some reason or other the defendant Company has for years been drafting its contracts with this peculiar condition; it being well-known in the locality and by the contractors employed that the words 'Rs. 9 per one hundred yard' as used in the contract really meant Rs. 3 per one hundred square feet. The appeal must, there fore, fail. It fails and is dismissed with costs, including in this Court fees on the higher scale.


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