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NON OBSTANTE CLAUSE

 NON OBSTANTE CLAUSE

BY P.HEMA

'Non-obstante' is a Latin word which means 'notwithstanding anything contained'. That means this clause empowers the legislation or a provision in which it contains, to override the effects of any other legal provisions contrary to this under the same law or any other laws.

When there are two or more provisions, or laws for that matter, which are operating in the same field and each holds a non-obstante clause asserting that its provisions will have an overriding effect over those of any other provisions of law, restorative and intricate problems of interpretation arise. In settling these problems of interpretation, no cleared principles can be applied other than to refer to the purpose and object of each of the two provisions, containing the non-obstante clause. A non-obstante clause present in two provisions in the same act calls for a harmonious interpretation of the two apparent conflicting provisions of the same act. This particular exercise is not that simple, and there are proper considerations which are involved in giving effect to the object and purpose of the two provisions involved and the language used in each of them, as seen in the case of Shri Swaran Singh &Anr. v. Shri Kasturi Lal.

Thus, the non-obstante clauses are not always to be regarded as repealing clauses nor as clauses which expressly or completely supersede any other provision of the law, but merely as clauses which remove all obstructions which might arise out of the provisions of any other law in the way of the operation of the principle enacting provision to which the non-obstante clause is attached. [Bipathumma & Ors. v. Mariam Bibi; 1966(1) Mysore Law Journal page 162, 165]

Conclusively, the clauses of non-obstante are not always to be considered as rescinding clauses nor as those clauses which partially or completely replace any other provision of the law, but merely as those clauses which remove all barriers which might arise out of the any other law in the way of operating the principle provision, to which the particular non-obstante clause is attached.


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