prpri Interpretation of Such / Such As Interpretation of Such / Such As

Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal, FCA, FCS

Sanjiv Agarwal PhotoThe term “such as” is often used in statutes as well as judicial pronouncements. However, it is merely illustrative and not exhaustive.

Definition of certain services and input service uses the term ‘such as’ which is purely illustrative but not exhaustive. See: Concise Oxford Dictionary: “Such as” means for example or of a kind that; and Chambers Dictionary: “Such as” means for example.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Good Year India Ltd v. Collector of Customs 1997 (95) ELT 450 held as under:

“…The words ‘such as stainless steel, nickel monel, incoloy, hastelloy’ in subheading (2) are only illustrative of the various metals from which valves can be made but the said description is not exhaustive of the metals. . . .” (p. 451).

The same was also reiterated in Royal Hatcheries (P.) Ltd. v. State of Andhra Pradesh 1994 Supp (1) SCC 429. Therefore, the term “such as’ establishes that whatever activities are enumerated in the rule are only illustrations of service that relate to the business and are not of exhaustive of it.

Rajasthan High Court in the case of Union of Indian v. Wazir Singh, AIR 1980 Raj 252, while dealing with an expression “no such application” in the context of rule 97 of the Rajasthan High Court Rules, 1952, has held as follows :

“Generally the word ‘such’ refers only to previously indicated, characterizes or specified. ‘Such’ is an adjective meaning the one previously indicated or refers to something which has been said before”.

Allahabad High Court in the case of Mohan Lal v. Grain Chamber Ltd., AIR 1959 All 276 has held as follows :

“In fact, it appears to us that the word ‘such’ is used before a noun in a latter part of a sentence, the proper construction in the English language is to hold that the same noun is being used after the word ‘such’ with all its characteristics which might have been indicated earlier in the same sentence”.

In CCE, Nagpur v. Ultratech Cement Ltd (2010) 20 STR 577 (Bombay) it was held that the expression such as can not be used restrictively. It should be construed as illustrative and not exhaustive in the absence of legislative intention to restrict definition to particular class or category of services (in context of input services).

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July 2021