RULE OF EJUSDEM GENERIS

RULE OF EJUSDEM GENERIS

  1. This rule comes under the subsidiary rule of the literal rule. It is a Latin term which means “of the same kind”.

 

  1. The rule states that specific words have similar characteristics that are the general words as per the common characteristic.

 

  1. Ejusdem Generis refers to words which belong to a similar class.

 

  1. In law, it just doesn’t it is applies in the sense that general words should be allotted their ordinary or true meaning like the other words except with the context requires otherwise.
  2. If the specific words exhaust the genus then the general words are interpreted by considering a larger genus.

 

The above situation is based on the case of Assistant Collector Central Excise, Guntur v Ramdeo tobacco company

Under section 40 sub section 2 of the Central excise act, it was stated that after the completion of 6 months of the cause of action or the date of the act, there will be no suit prosecution or other legal proceeding which will be entertained by the court.

The departmental proceedings were started against the accused after 6 months. The accused challenged the law and stated that no proceedings can be initiated after 6 months. The question before the court was that whether departmental proceedings can be included in “other legal proceedings or not”. The court held that departmental proceedings are not included in other legal proceedings. Therefore the rule of Ejusdem generis was not applied in this case.

 

Thakur Amar Singh Ji vs State of Rajasthan-in this case the Rajasthan land reform act was challenged. The court held that the word ‘jagir’ in article 31A of the Indian constitution should be read as for the rule of ejusdem generis with the “other similar grants” as the genuine nature of the rule is that the words falling under the general nature should follow the particular words and it should be interpreted as is of the same category.

 

Allen vs Emmerson-it was held in this case that the words books, pamphlets newspapers and other documents will not be included in the other documents when applying the rule of ejusdem generis. The court stated that the general words should be interpreted in such a manner that there should be a genus which discloses that the general words are intended in order to be restricted.

 

McBoyle v United States 1931-the accused sent a stolen plane from one place to other. He was charged under the offence of theft of motor vehicle. The law which existed at that time stated that motor vehicle shall include automobile, trucks , wagon or any other self-propelled vehicle which is not designed to be run on rails.

The accused challenge that under the term motor vehicle aircraft will not be included. The question before the court was whether airplane can be included in the term “motor vehicle”.

 

The district court held that airplanes are self propelled and it will be included under motor vehicle.

The appeal was made to the supreme court and supreme court reversed the decision of the district court and held that vehicle should be taken in consideration with the the genuine and true meaning. The term “any other self-propelled vehicle” discloses in the ordinary sense that it it is talking about such a vehicle which is running on land. Therefore airplanes will not be taken under the term motor vehicles.

 

In the case of R versus Edmundson 1859 and Amar Chandra vs collector of excise, the court explained the essentials of the prerequisites while applying the rule of ejusdem generis. The rule should be allowed in some specific words come under the general term and there is no different point of view by the law.

 

Express hotels Limited versus state of Gujarat 1989

 

In this case the petitioner challenged the act of taxes which were applicable in Gujarat. It was challenged that section 2(1)(a) of the act provided  the charges of lodging includes the charges of air conditioning, electricity, television and “other like items”.

The question was whether tax is included in the charges of “other like items or not”?

The court applied the rule of ejusdem generis and rejected the contention of the petitioner and stated that it will be included in the ‘other like items’ as it belongs to the general category of words.

Exceptions to the rule of Ejusdem generis

  1. It should not be applied where the particular words is not coming under common genus.
  2. It is not applied where the particular words follows a particular word only. There is no common genus in such scenario.
  3. The rule has Limited application as it applies only when there is a common genus and particular word comes under such class.

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