Promissory Estoppel IV

The entire basis of this Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel has been well put in a Judgment of Australian High Court reported in Commonwealth of Australia v. Verwayen, 170 C.L.R. 394, by Deane, J. The statement, based on various earlier English authorities, correctly encapsulates the law of Promissory Estoppel with one difference under our law – Promissory Estoppel can be the basis of an independent cause of action in which detriment does not need to be proved. It is enough, a party has acted upon the representation made. The importance of the Australian case is only to reiterate two fundamental concepts relating to Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel – one, the central principle is, law will not permit an unconscionable departure by one party from the subject matter of an assumption which has been adopted by the other party as the basis of a course of conduct which would affect the other party if the assumption be not adhered to. The assumption may be of fact or law, present or future. And two, the relief that may be given on the facts of a given case is flexible enough to remedy injustice wherever it is found. And this would include the relief of acting on the basis that a future assumption either as to fact or law will be deemed to have taken place so as to afford relief to the wronged party.

– Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, Manuelsons Hotels Private Limited v. State of Kerala, [Civil Appeal No. 2480 of 2008].