Legal Maxim

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Literal Meaning

The exception proves the rule.




The maxim, Exceptio Probat Regulam is often used to justify something that seems to contradict a rule. It means that if there is an exception that can be applied to a specific case, it proves that a general rule exists.


For instance, if a sign at a bakery states “Pizza available Sunday morning”, this is the exception that proves the rule that doughnuts are not available at the bakery at any other time.

Case Laws

In Kashmir Motor Driver Association vs. Union of India, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court referred to the above maxim ‘Exceptio probat regulam, that is, an exception proves the rote concerning things not excepted.’

In Kalliyani Amma Bhavani Amma vs Narayani Amma Madhavi Amma, the Kerala High Court held that Exceptio probat regulam de rebus non-exceptis. (An exception proves the rule concerning things not excepted). When it says that until partition no member of the tarwad shall be deemed to have any heritable interest in tarwad property, has to be understood to say that what a member gets in a partition of the tarwad is a heritable property in his or her hands.

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