Doctrine of Severability

Explaining the doctrine of severability contained in Section 57 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 in B.O.I. Finance Ltd. v. Custodian and Others, (1997) 10 SCC 488, a three Judge Bench of the Court has held that question of severance arises only in the case of a composite agreement consisting of reciprocal promises. In Shin Satellite Public Company Ltd. v. Jain Studios Ltd.m (2006) 2 SCC 628, the court has observed that the proper test for deciding validity or otherwise of an order or agreement is “substantial severability” and not “textual divisibility”. It was further held by the Court that it is the duty of the court to sever and separate trivial and technical parts by retaining the main or substantial part and by giving effect to the latter if it is legal, lawful and otherwise enforceable. Elektron Lighting Systems Pvt. Ltd. v. Shah Investments Financial Developments and Consultants Pvt. Ltd., 2016 (1) AWC 671.

 

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