Jaganmohan Reddy, J
(1) This stamp reference by the office has been referred to us by our learned brother, Venkatesam, J., as the question is raised not only in this Court but is likely to be raised in all subordinate Courts almost in every case and is therefore, an important matter to be decided by a Bench. The simple question is whether by reason of the Andhra Pradesh Act 26 of 1965, notwithstanding the deletion of the exemptions from stamp duty in Art. 4 of the Indian Stamp Act (II of 1899) (hereinafter called 'the Act'), affidavits mentioned in Exemption (b), which are made for the immediate purpose of being the officer of any Court,' are chargeable to stamp duty having regard to the definition of 'instrument' in Section 2(14) of the Act. As this question affects the revenue of the State, notice was given to the Advocate-General and the Government Pleader, and we have had the benefit of their arguments.
(2) The main contention of Mr. Kuppuswamy is that affidavits which do not come under the definition of S. 2(14) are not liable to stamp duty under S. 3, and the specific exemption under Art. 4 of the Act of Affidavits made for the immediate purpose of being filed in Court, which are required under O. 19, C.P.C. for proving any particular fact or facts, and which are not instruments within the meaning of S. 2(14), was only by way of abundant caution.
(3) In order to understand this contention, we may read Ss. 2(14) and 3. They are in the following terms:-
'Section 2(14). 'Instrument' includes every document by which any right or liability is, or purports to be, created, transferred, limited, extended, extinguished or recorded.'
'Section 3. Subject to the provisions of this Act and the exemptions contained in the Schedule I, the following instruments shall be chargeable with duty of the amount indicated in that Schedule as the proper duty thereof, respectively, that is to say:
(a) Every instrument mentioned in that Schedule which, not having been previously executed by any person, is executed in India on or after the first day of July, 1899.
(b) Every bill of exchange payable otherwise than on demand, or promissory note drawn or made out of India on or after that day and accepted or paid, or presented for acceptance or payment, or endorsed, transferred or otherwise negotiated, in India; and
(c) Every instrument (other than a bill of exchange or promissory note) mentioned in that schedule which, not having been previously executed by any person is executed out of India on or after that day, relates to any property situate, or to any matter or thing done or to be done, in India and is received in India;
Provided that no duty shall be chargeable in respect of:
(1) any instrument executed, by, or on behalf of, or in favour of, the Government in cases where, but for this exemption, the Government would be liable to pay the duty chargeable in respect of such instrument;
(2) any instrument for the sale, transfer or other disposition, either absolutely or by way of mortgage or otherwise, of any ship or vessel, or any part, interest, share or property of or in any ship or vessel registered under the Merchant Shippin Act, 1894, or under Act 19 of 1838, or the Indian Registration of Ships Act, 1841, as amended by subsequent Acts.'
This charging S. 3 of the Central Act has been amended in the various States, but as nothing turns on it, we do not propose to refer to those amendments which are applicable to this State.
(4) The contention of the learned Advocate is that the Legislature by the use of the word 'includes' in S. 2(14) has given an exhaustive definition of the word 'instrument' for the purposes of the Act as if 'instrument' means and includes 'only those documents' by which any right or liability is, or purports to be, created, transferred, limited, extended, extinguished or recorded and no other. On this premises, reading the charging S. 3 with Article 4, Mr. Kuppuswamy argues that only those affidavits by which any right or liability is, or purports to be, created, transferred, limited, extended, extinguished or recorded, are chargeable and since affidavits filed in Court under O. 19, C.P.C. are only for the purpose of proving any particular fact or facts, they are not liable to stamp duty under the Act.
(5) In support of this contention, he has cited certain decisions to show that the word 'includes' used in the definition affords an exhaustive explanation of the meaning and is equivalent to 'mean and include'. The learned Advocate-General, on the other hand, contends that the word 'includes must be considered in the context of the provisions of the Act, and generally has an extensive application, and while there may be cases in which a restricted application of that word may be given if the context permits, the word instrument in S. 2(14) cannot be given that restricted meaning. The learned Government Pleader, has tried to point out that in the several definitions, as in Ss. 2(13), 2(15), 2(16) and 2(17), the Legislature has used the word 'means and includes' and 'includes', which demonstrates clearly that the draftsman has used these to import a particular content to the definition, so that it cannot be construed as being the intention of the Legislature when it used the word 'includes' to mean 'means and includes.'
(6) In our view, the word 'includes' as used in the interpretation of statutes connotes generally an extended meaning, as further adding, by including all those things that the definition declares that it should include, to the generic meaning of that word or to its natural import. The proper use of the definition is to include or exclude something, with respect to the inclusion or exclusion of which there is some doubt, without such a definition, and the definition requires to be carefully construed, as a misuse of it is a frequent cause of ambiguity and ambiguity would cause havoc if it is recollected that a word once defined in the Act preserves its meaning throughout the whole Act.
(7) It is argued that the word 'instrument' generically means any document in writing and there was, therefore, no need for the legislature to include something which is already included in it. No doubt in Mohan Choudhury, v. Chief Commissioner, Tripura, : 1964CriLJ132 , their Lordships of the Supreme Court had occasion to construe the word 'instrument' in the absence of a definition of that term in the General Clauses Act. It was held that the expression 'instrument' in Art. 359(1) of the Constitution of India must be taken to have been used in the sense in which it is generally understood in legal parlance and that that expression is used to signify a deed inter parties or a charter or a record or other writing of a formal nature.
(8) An examining of some of the Articles in Schedule I which prescribe stamp duty on certain instruments coming under S. 3 also leads to this conclusion. The very first Article deals with 'acknowledgment of a debt exceeding Rs. 20', which cannot conceivably come within the definition of S. 2(14) in the 'included' document, unless it is an acknowledgment which contains any promise to pay the debt or any stipulation to pay interest or to deliver any goods or other property. In other words, an acknowledgment does not create any right or liability or purport to create or transfer, etc., of any right or liability or even record it. For an acknowledgment to come under this Article, it should not be an acknowledgment which contains an express promise to pay, in which case it will be charged under some other Article. It should be merely an instrument supplying evidence of a debt and nothing more. Another instance is Art. 24, which deals with 'copy or extract, certified to be a true copy or extract, by or by order of any public officer and not chargeable under the law for the time being in force relating to court-fees and the stamp duty payable is eight annas if the original was not chargeable with duty or if the duty with which it was chargeable does not exceed one rupee and one rupee in any other case. Article 442 is another example, which says that a notarial act, that is to say, any instrument, endorsement, note, attestation, certificate or entry not being a protest made or signed by a Notary Public, in the execution of the duties of his office or by any other person lawfully acting as a Notary Public, is liable to stamp duty of one rupee. Under Art. 53 'receipt' as defined by S. 2(23) for any money or other property the amount or value of which exceeds twenty rupees, is liable to stamp of ten naye paise. Section 2(23) defines 'receipt' in so far as it is relevant thus:
'Receipt includes any note, memorandum or writing -
(a) whereby any money, or any bill of exchange, cheque or promissory note is acknowledged to have received.'
The definition of 'receipt', though not covered by the 'inclusive' definition of S. 2(14) is nonetheless treated as an instrument under Schedule I, which schedule is, by the Legislative Act, a part of the statute. These Articles support the hypothesis that an instrument as defined in S. 2(14) must be given an extensive meaning and is not restricted only to those documents which are specifically included in the definition.
(9) In the light of these observations, we may examine a few of the leading cases which are cited before us, to see to what extent the principles set out above are warranted. In the famous case of Dilworth v. Commissioner of Stamps, 1899 AC 99, at pp. 105 and 106. Lord Watson, delivering the opinion of their Lordships of the Privy Council, observed at p. 105 thus:-
'The word 'include' is very generally used in interpretation clauses in order to enlarge the meaning of words or phrases occurring in the body of the statute and when it is so used these words or phrases must be construed as comprehending, not only such things as they signify according to their natural import, but also those things which the interpretation clause declares that they shall include. But the word 'include' is susceptible of another construction, which may become imperative, if the context of the Act is sufficient to show that it was not merely employed for the purpose of adding to the natural significance of the words or expressions defined. It may be equivalent to 'mean and include' and in that case it may afford an exhaustive explanation of the meaning which, for the purposes of the Act, must invariably be attached to these words or expressions.'
The above passage illustrates the general principles to which we have already adverted, as to the meaning given to the word 'include'. Where that word is to be construed as 'means and includes' the context of the Act must imperatively support that construction. In Emperor v. Jianand, AIR 1928 Sind 149 (153), a Full Bench of the Sind High Court has adopted the statement of the principle enunciated by Lord Watson in the Privy Council case cited above. In that case an amendment to S. 266, Cr.P.C. defined the expression 'High Court' as meaning 'a High Court of Judicature established under the Indian High Courts Act, 1861 (or the Government of India Act, 1915) and includes (the Court of the Judicial Commissioners of the Central Provinces, Oudh and Sind) and such other Courts as the Governor-General in Council may by notification in the Gazette of India, declare to be High Courts for the purposes of this chapter and of Ch. 18)'. In that context, De Souza, .A.J.C., observed:
'It is a well-known rule of interpretation that the word 'includes' is used as a word of enlargement and ordinarily implies that something else has been given beyond the general language which proceeds it; to add to the general clause a species which does not naturally belong to it.'
(10) The learned Government Pleader has referred to certain observations in the dissenting judgment of Srivatsava, J., in Darbari Lal v. Dharma Wati, : AIR1957All541 (FB). But the interpretation of the word 'includes' given by him is in consonance with the principle adumbrated in Dilworth's case, 1899 AC 99.
(11) In Nasibun v. Preosunker Ghose, (1882) ILR 8 Cal 534 at p. 536, not cited before us, Field, J., speaking for the Bench of that Court while construing the word 'includes' in the definition of 'bond' given in the Stamp Act, 1869, said at p. 536:
'The argument addressed to us has turned upon this language only but we may observe that this language does not contain an exhaustive definition of the term 'bond'. The word 'includes' has an extending force, and does not limit the meaning of the term to the substance of the definition.'
In Tokendra Bir Singh v. Govt. of India, : AIR1964SC1663 , the word 'Ruler' has been defined by Art. 366(22) of the Constitution of India as 'Ruler' in relation to an Indian State means Prince, Chief, or other person by whom any such covenant or agreement as is referred to in Cl. (1) of Art. 291 was entered into and who for the time being is recognised by the President as the Ruler of the State, and includes any person who for the time being is recognised by the President as the successor or such Ruler. The argument was that since the minor Maharajah against whom the suit was proposed to be filed did not sign the covenant or agreement of merger specified in the first part of the definition, he cannot claim to be a Ruler, and so, he is not a Ruler of the former State of Manipur under S. 87B. This argument was repelled as being clearly misconceived, because the definition is an inclusive definition and its latter part takes in successors of Rulers who satisfy the test of its first part. This, however, is not an authority for the construction of the word 'includes' simpliciter. The Legislature has defined the word as meaning a particular thing and as also including something else in it.
(12) The decisions cited by Sri Kuppuswamy, viz., Madras Central Urban Bank, Ltd. v. Corporation of Madras, AIR 1932 Mad 474, Seeni Nadan v. Muthuswamy Pillai, AIR 1920 Mad (FB), Jeramdas Vishendas v. Emperor, AIR 1934 Sind 96, are illustrative of the principle in Dilworth's case. Hanuman Prasaad v. State of Rajasthan, (SB), is a case dealing with specific instrument which falls within the 'included' definition and can throw on light upon the construction of 'instrument' as such, nor do this decision in any way militate against the construction placed by us.
(13) For the reasons stated above we are clear in our minds that the deletion of the exemption in Art. 4 (b) makes affidavits sworn or declared, for the immediate purpose of filing in Court, liable to stamp duty under that Article. The Legislature intended that result and, however, much we may agree with the submission of the learned Advocate that this will make litigation costly, we can only commiserate but cannot help. The learned Advocate-General drew our attention to certain practical difficulties and hardships which the litigant public and lawyers are likely to encounter. The proper course for him is to draw the attention of the Government and have this remedied.
(14) In the result, we direct that the affidavit filed in the case reference is liable to stamp under Art. 4.
(16) Order accordingly.