Judicial Dictionary

Notification interpretation of

Supreme Court in Commissioner of Central Excise, Surat-I v. Favourite Industries, 2012 (7) SCC 153, while considering exemption notification issued under Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 laid down following in paragraph 35 to 40:-

“35. The notification requires to be interpreted in the light of the words employed by it and not on any other basis. There cannot be any addition or subtraction from the notification for the reason the exemption notification requires to be strictly construed by the courts. The wordings of the exemption notification have to be given its natural meaning, when the wordings are simple, clear and unambiguous.

36. In Commr. of Customs v. Rupa & Co. Ltd., this Court has observed that the exemption notification has to be given strict interpretation by giving effect to the clear and unambiguous wordings used in the notification. This Court has held thus: (SCC pp. 41314, para 7)

“7. … However, if the interpretation given by the Board and the Ministry is clearly erroneous then this Court cannot endorse that view. An exemption notification has to be construed strictly but that does not mean that the object and purpose of the notification is to be lost sight of and the wording used therein ignored. Where the wording of the notification is clear and unambiguous, it has to be given effect to. Exemption cannot be denied by giving a construction not justified by the wording of the notification.”

(emphasis supplied)

37. In CCE v. Rukmani Pakkwell Traders, this Court has also held: (SCC p. 804, para 5)

“5. … It is settled law that exemption notifications have to be strictly construed. They must be interpreted on their own wording. Wordings of some other notification are of no benefit in construing a particular notification.”

(emphasis supplied)

38. In Kohinoor Elastics (P) Ltd. v. CCE this Court has held: (SCC p. 533, para 7)

“7. … When the wordings of the notifications are clear and unambiguous they must be given effect to. By a strained reasoning benefit cannot be given when it is clearly not available.”

(emphasis supplied)

39. In Compack (P) Ltd. v. CCE, this Court has observed thus: (SCC p. 306, para 20)

“20. Bhalla Enterprises laid down a proposition that notification has to be construed on the basis of the language used. Rukmani Pakkwell Traders16 is an authority for the same proposition as also that the wordings of some other notification are of no benefit in construing a particular notification. The notification does not state that exemption cannot be granted in a case where all the inputs for manufacture of containers would be base paper or paperboard. In manufacture of the containers some other inputs are likely to be used for which MODVAT credit facility has been availed of. Such a construction, as has been suggested by the learned counsel for the respondents, would amount to addition of the words `only out of’ or `purely out of’ the base paper and cannot be countenanced. The notification has to be construed in terms of the language used therein. It is well settled that unless literal meaning given to a document leads to anomaly or absurdity, the golden rule of literal interpretation shall be adhered to.”

(emphasis supplied)

40. In CCE v. Mahaan Dairies, this Court has held: (SCC p. 800, para 8) “8. It is settled law that in order to claim benefit of a notification, a party must strictly comply with the terms of the notification. If on wording of the notification the benefit is not available then by stretching the words of the notification or by adding words to the notification benefit cannot be conferred. The Tribunal has based its decision on a decision delivered by it in Rukmani Pakkwell Traders v. CCE. We have already overruled the decision in that case. In this case also we hold that the decision of the Tribunal is unsustainable. It is accordingly set aside.”

(emphasis supplied)”