Statutory Interpretation

Meaning of “Notwithstanding anything contained in the Act”


 What is meant by use of the expression “Notwithstanding anything contained in the Act” as contradiction to the phrase “Subject to the provisions of this Act” reliance has been placed on the judgement of the Supreme Court in Chandavarkar Sita Ratna Rao Vs. Ashalata S. Guram AIR 1987 SC 117 = (1986) 4 SCC

 It has been explained that when a clause begins with the word “Notwithstanding” the object is to give it overriding effect over other provisions of the Act which is equivalent to saying in spite of those provisions the particular clause would have a full operation. This in contra-distinction to the phrase “Subject to” which conveys that the provision would yield to another provision. The relevant discussion as contained in paras 68 is as under:

“68. A clause beginning with the expression “notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in some particular provision in the Act or in some particular Act or in any law for the time being in force, or in any contract” is more often than not appended to a section in the beginning with a view to give the enacting part of the section in case of conflict an overriding effect over the provision of the Act or the contract mentioned in the non obstante clause. It is equivalent to saying that in spite of the provision of the Act or any other Act mentioned in the non obstante clause or any contract or document mentioned the enactment following it will have its full operation or that the provisions embraced in the non obstante clause would not be an impediment for an operation of the enactment. See in this connection the observations of this Court in South India Corpn. (P) Ltd. v. Secretary, Board of Revenue, Trivandrum [ AIR 1964 SC 207, 215 : (1964) 4 SCR 280] .

 It is well settled that the expression “notwithstanding” is in contradistinction to the phrase “subject to”, the latter conveying the idea of a provision yielding place to another provision or other provisions to which it is made subject.