Question: What is meant by Patent ambiguity and Latent ambiguity? How far oral evidence is admissible to explain or amend each of such ambiguities in documents. Illustrate. [HR.J.S. 1996, U.P.C.J. 2013, U.P.A.P.O. 2015] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What is meant by Patent ambiguity and Latent ambiguity? How far oral evidence is… Read More »

Question: What is meant by Patent ambiguity and Latent ambiguity? How far oral evidence is admissible to explain or amend each of such ambiguities in documents. Illustrate. [HR.J.S. 1996, U.P.C.J. 2013, U.P.A.P.O. 2015] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What is meant by Patent ambiguity and Latent ambiguity? How far oral evidence is admissible to explain or amend each of such ambiguities in documents. Illustrate.] Answer Sections 93 to 98 lay down the rule...

Question: What is meant by Patent ambiguity and Latent ambiguity? How far oral evidence is admissible to explain or amend each of such ambiguities in documents. Illustrate. [HR.J.S. 1996, U.P.C.J. 2013, U.P.A.P.O. 2015]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What is meant by Patent ambiguity and Latent ambiguity? How far oral evidence is admissible to explain or amend each of such ambiguities in documents. Illustrate.]

Answer

Sections 93 to 98 lay down the rule about admission or exclusion of extrinsic evidence in connection with facts contained in any document whether it is a contract or not. Where a document has been filed in a court and proved, the function of the court is to interpret it so as to find out the true meaning of the words used and to give effect to the true intention of the maker.

Sections 93 to 98 lay down rules as to the interpretation of documents with the aid of extrinsic evidence. Interpretation means ascertaining the meaning of the language of a document or the manner in which it is related to existing facts. Sometimes the real meaning of a document is not clear without the aid of some facts extraneous to the deed. The language of the document is ambiguous and it can be made clear by introducing new facts. A makes a will to the effect “My estate is to go to my wife and daughter.”

He dies. After his death, it transpired that he had four daughters. Now the will in itself is ambiguous. It is not clear as to which of the daughters was to get the property with her mother. Suppose three of the daughters are rich and living with their husbands and the fourth one is a widow and is living with her mother.

If this is proved it may be inferred that the father meant that daughter and the ambiguity may be removed. This ambiguity of the language of a document may be divided into two groups: (1) Patent ambiguity, and (2) Latent ambiguity.

A patent ambiguity is that which appears to be ambiguous upon the face of the deed of the instrument. Latent ambiguity is that which seems certain and without ambiguity for anything that appears upon the deed, but here is some collateral matter out of the deed that breathes the ambiguity.

To be clear patent ambiguity is that where the language of the deed is uncertain and nobody can be certain, as to what the language means exactly. A agrees in writing to sell his house to B for Rs. 1,000 or Rs. 2,000. Here the deed is ambiguous. Where the deed is ungrammatical and cannot be read literally so as to give any clear meaning without adding to or removing some words the ambiguity is patent. If a deed contains blanks, the ambiguity is patent.

Latent ambiguity, on the other hand, is not present in the deed but is raised by extrinsic facts. The meaning of the deed is plain and clear but when it is applied to existing facts ambiguity arises. If the deed is read its meaning is clear but when it is applied to facts ambiguity arises.

A good test of the difference between latent and patent ambiguity is to put the document into the hands of an ordinary intelligent educated person. If upon reading the document he detects the ambiguity and says that he cannot be definite as to the meaning of the language of the deed the ambiguity is patent.

On the other hand, if on perusal he sees no ambiguity and is definite about the meaning of the document but when he applies the instrument to facts, ambiguity arises and the meaning becomes indefinite, the ambiguity is a latent one.

Section 93 deals with patent ambiguity—No oral evidence can be given to removing a patent ambiguity. That is to say, when the language used in a document is ambiguous on its very face and no definite meaning can be given to it, no evidence can be given of facts that would make its meaning clear. Where a deed is ungrammatical and cannot be read literally to give any clear meaning, oral evidence cannot be given to supply the defect.

Section 95 deals with latent ambiguity– Oral evidence can be given to removing the latent ambiguity of a document. When the language used in the document is plain but is unmeaning to existing facts due to some mistake in description evidence can be given to show that it was used in a peculiar sense. According to this rule, a false description does not invalidate the document.

Latent ambiguity is such where the language of the document is certain and meaningful but the language of the document is not applied to the present circumstances. Latent ambiguity is objective in nature and is related to the subject matter and object of the document.

Latent ambiguity is not evident from prima facie inspection of the document but becomes apparent when the language of the document is applied to existing circumstances.

Oral evidence is permitted to remove latent ambiguity. The rule of giving oral evidence in case of latent ambiguity is based on the principle that latent ambiguity does not make the document useless.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-10-07T13:33:59+05:30
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