The Proviso II / The Revival of Ray XVI

In Dwarka Prasad v. Dwarka Das Saraf, (1976) 1 SCC 128 this Court held:

“A proviso must be limited to the subject-matter of the enacting clause. It is a settled rule of construction, a proviso must prima facie be read and considered in relation to the principal matter to which it is a proviso. It is not a separate or independent enactment.

“Words are dependent on the principal enacting words to which they are tacked as a proviso. They cannot be read as divorced from their context” [Thompson v. Dibdin, 1912 AC 533].

A proviso ordinarily is but a proviso, although the golden rule is to read the whole section, inclusive of the proviso, in such manner they mutually throw light on each other and result in a harmonious construction.

A proviso cannot be used to nullify or set at naught the substantive provision contained in the main enactment.”

Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, Delhi Development Authority v. Virender Lal Bahri, [Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 37375 of 2016].


My Lord, Judges in Dwarka Prasad, (1976) 1 SCC 128?

Four. Hon’ble Judges K.K. Mathew, S. Murtaza Fazal Ali, V.R. Krishna Iyer; Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice A.N. Ray.

My Lord, Gujarat Ambuja, (2005) 4 SCC 214 quoted Dwarka Prasad?


My Lord, Gujarat Ambuja?




The construction or interpretation of a proviso could be discussed as gathered from: Ishverlal Thakorelal Almaula v. Motibhai Nagjibhai, AIR 1966 SC 459; Kaviraj Pandit Durga Dutt Sharma v. Navaratna Pharmaceutical Laboratories, AIR 1965 SC 980; Kedarnath Jute Manufacturing Co. Ltd. v. Commercial Tax Officer, AIR 1966 SC 12; Dattatraya Govind Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1977 SC 915; S. Sundaram Pillai v. V.R. Pattabiraman, AIR 1985 SC 582.

The approach to construction and interpretation of a proviso is enunciated in: M. Pentiah v. Muddala Veeramallappa, AIR 1961 SC 1107 and Superintendent & Remembrancer of Legal Affairs to Govt. of West Bengal v. Abani Maity, AIR 1979 SC 1029.

Hon’ble Justice B.V. Nagarathna, Prabha Tyagi v. Kamlesh Devi, [Criminal Appeal No. 511 of 2022] decided on 12.05.2022.  


The scope of a proviso was dealt with in great detail in S. Sundaram Pillai v. V.R. Pattabiraman, (1985) 1 SCC 591. Court observed, normally a proviso is meant to be an exception to something within the main enactment or to qualify something enacted therein which but for the proviso would be within the purview of the enactment. A proviso cannot be torn apart from the main enactment nor can it be used to nullify or set at naught the real object of the main enactment.

Hon’ble Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, M/s. New Noble Educational Society v. Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, [Civil Appeal No. 3795 of 2014] decided on 19.10.2022.