Aarushi 28 February 2022
The maxim Ejusdem Generis finds its use when certain specific words are followed by certain general ones in the statutes. Used in the interpretation of statutes, this maxim means of the same class or kind. If there is any kind of ambiguity in the general words used in the statutes, this maxim comes into play. The “Doctrine of Ejusdem Generis” says that the general words used after a group of specific words will be of the same nature as the specific words. This doctrine is also known as Lord Tenterden’s Rule. This doctrine is another form of the maxim “Noscitur a sociis”, which means the term in a statute is to be recognized by the associated words. However, it must be noted here that the use of this maxim restricts the ambit of the general word used, hence it is only to be used in cases where the need and context arise.
Evans v. Cross
In this case, the Court applied the maxim of Ejusdem Generis and held that the phrase “other devices” in Section 48(9) of the Road Traffic Act, 1930 used after the specific words “all signals, warning sign posts” cannot be used to signify a painted line on the road. The specific words used in the said section are all material “things” whereas a painted line on the road is not.
Siddeshwari Cotton Mills (P) Ltd. V. Union of India
In this case, the Supreme Court applied the maxim of Ejusdem Generis and held that the general phrase “any other process” used after the specific words “bleaching, mercerizing, dyeing, printing, water-proofing, rubberizing, shrink proofing, organic processing”, under Section 2(f) of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944 would be restricted to those processes which cause a lasting change on the nature of the product, since all the processes mention in the specific words mention the same.