Saturday 16 October 2021

Can the court declare a document invalid if there is an erroneous description of a person or a thing in a written instrument?

 A reference may usefully be made to the maxim "Falsa demonstratio non nocet cum de corrore constat" which means mere false description does not vitiate, if there be sufficient certainty as to the object. 'Falsa demonstratio' means an erroneous description of a person or a thing in a written instrument; and the above rule respecting it signifies that where the description is made up of more than one part, and one part is true, but the other false, there, if the part which is true describes the subject with sufficient legal certainty, the untrue part will be rejected and will not vitiate the devise: the characteristic of cases within the rule being that the description, so far as it is false, applies to no subject at all, and, so far as it is true, applies to one only. (See Broom's Legal Maxims, 10th Edition, pp. 426-

427). Broom quotes (at page 438) an example that an error in the proper name or in the surname of the legatee should not make the legacy void, provided it could be understood from the will what person was intended to be benefited thereby.

Supreme Court of India
Harikrishna Lal vs Babu Lal Marandi on 30 October, 2003
Author: R Lahoti

Bench: R.C. Lahoti, Ashok Bhan
Citation: (2003) 8 SCC 613
Read full Judgment here: Click here
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