Pro Tanto

Pro Tanto

Literal Meaning

So Far, to that extend

Explanation & Origin

Pro tanto is a Latin phrase which means “only to that extent” and is often used to denote partial fulfillment of an actual or potential obligation — often in the form of partial payment toward a claim asserted in a lawsuit.

Prot tanto is commonly used in cases, to describe a partial payment made for the taking by the government without prejudice to the right of the petitioner to bring an action for the full amount that he claims is due. So if a local government paid the owner of a property seized in an eminent domain case, pro tanto, the landowner would still have the option to counter-claim.


A judge gives an order for payments for one year, pro tanto.

Case Reference

In the case Tractors & Farm Equipments Ltd. vs Deputy Commissioner Of Income[1] it was observed In all the cases before us, which are centered on the proper interpretation of Rule. 1(iii) of the Second Schedule, it is common ground that the amount of depreciation allowed as deduction for purposes of income-tax assessment was in excess of the amount of depreciation charged in the books of account of the assessee. The Assessing Officer took the line that had the amount of depreciation actually allowed as deduction in income-tax assessment been charged in the books of account of the assessee, the surplus available for appropriation would have got reduced pro tanto, and that, in the process, the amount appropriated towards reserves would have also shrunk in size pro tanto. Rule 1(iii) talks of other reserves being reduced by the amount credited to such reserves as have been allowed as a deduction in computing the income of the assessee-company for the purposes of the IT Act. The term other reserves encompasses general reserve also. By reason of the assessees charging to profits a lesser sum as and by way of depreciation, the differential went to augment the general reserve. In the income-tax assessments, however, deduction had been allowed in respect of the differential. Therefore, the general reserve needs to be reduced pro tanto by virtue of the provisions of r. 1(iii). The same consideration will apply, with equal force, to the aggregate differential.

In the case Naresh Chandra Das And Anr. vs Emperor[2] it was held, proceeded on the footing that though the Judicial Committee did not decide the question whether Section 162, Criminal P.C., repealed pro tanto Section 27Evidence Act, yet the observations made by their Lordships on the point should be taken as indicating the only possible way in which the mutual relations of the two sections can be determined. With due respect it seems to me that there is no reason why the scope of enquiry into the matter should be taken as thus narrowed down by the above observations of their Lordships of the Judicial Committee. The whole question was expressly left open by their Lordships and it would not, in my judgment, be a fair reading of the observations made by their Lordships if we take them as laying down that ‘the words of Section 162, Criminal P.C., pro tanto repeal the provisions of Section 27Evidence Act, unless Section 27Evidence Act, is a special law within the meaning of Section 1 (2), Criminal P.C., and then unless Section 162 is not a specific provision to the contrary.’ Dalip Singh J. in Hakam Khuda Tar v. Emperor (’40) 27 A.I.R. 1940 Lah. 129 seems to have taken the same view of the observations as Collister J. Collister J. found support of his view of the mutual relations between the two sections also in the history of the sections. His reasoning from the history seems to be this : In the Criminal Procedure Code of 1882 (Act 10 of 1882), it was enacted in Section 162 that.In this case Young C. J., observed : (1) the Judicial Committee have made it perfectly clear that the words of Section 162 are wide enough to exclude any confession made to a police officer whether a discovery is made or not.

In the case of A.L.S.P.Pl. Subramania Chettiar vs Moniam P. Narayanaswami Gounder[3] it was observed that Section 128Contract Act, says that the liability of the surety is co-extensive with that of the principal debtor unless it is otherwise provided by contract. It is a settled principle of law that the surety’s- liability is only accessory and secondary. Under the express provisions of Section 128 his liability is made only co-extensive with that of the principal debtor. That can only mean that his liability, is no less or no more than that of the principal debtor. If the amount payable by the principal debtor is discharged in part, the surety’s liability also is pro tanto reduced. Mr. Bamachan-dra Aiyar urged that Section 128 ought not to be read or supposing the surety were an agriculturist and the principal debtor was not an agriculturist, it could not be urged that the principal debtor could claim scaling down simply because the surety could claim it and his liability was co-extensive with the surety’s. But here he is forgetting that the liability of the surety is accessory and secondary while the liability of the principal debtor is not and so the principal debtor, who is not an agriculturist and whose liability is primary, and not secondary or accessory, can be made to pay the full amount.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1] (1994) 49 TTJ Mad 500

[2] AIR 1942 Cal 593

[3] AIR 1951 Mad 48, (1950) 2 MLJ 472