ACIT (E) v .Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (2022)449 ITR 1 / 219 DTR 209/ 329 CTR 297 (SC)

Interpretation of taxing statutes — Date of applicability of a statutory amendment – Amending provisions — to be considered in light of history of legislation and what lawmakers intended by amendment – .Aids to construction — Speeches made in legislature can be looked into- Circulars — Binding upon Departmental Authorities if they advance proposition within framework of statute — Not binding where contrary to statute—Not binding on courts-Definition — Unless the context otherwise requires . [ S. 10(20A), 10(23C), 10(46), 11, 11(4), 11(4A), 12, 12A, 12AA, 13(8), 143(3)

The observations of the  Honourable courts  are ,  the words of a statute are to be construed in their terms, according to the circumstances in which they occur . At the same time , statutes, particularly amending provisions , may be considered in the light of the previous history of the legislation and the changes in underwent to discern , what is intended by the lawmakers when an amendment is introduced or new law is enacted. Speeches made in the legislature or Parliament can be looked into for throwing light on the rationale for an amendment . Circulars are  binding upon the Departmental authorities , if they advance a proposition within the framework of the statutory provision . However, if they are contrary to the plain words of a statute , they are not binding . Further more , they cannot bind the courts , which they have to  independently interpret the statute , in their own terms . At the best ,in  such a task , they may be considered as Departmental understanding on the subject and have limited persuasive value . The term “ unless the context otherwise requires” merely signifies that in case there is anything expressly to the contrary , in any specific provision in the body of the Act, a different meaning can be attributed.  However, to discern the purport of a provision , the term, as defined , has to prevail, whenever the expression is used in the statute. This rule is subject to the exception that when a contrary intention is plain , in a particular instances , that meaning is to be given .       

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