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Confused about the difference between Notification, Circular and Press release? - Read this article.

A notification is published in the Official Gazette by the Government in exercise of the power derived from a legislative enactment or provision. When you read “as may be prescribed”, the information published can be in the form of Rules or Notifications. The Ministry/Departments are empowered to come out with notifications superseding the earlier ones. Notifications are integral part of the enactment and is binding on all the constituents.

A Circular is issued by the Board or Head of the department clarifying, explaining, or interpreting certain provisions. Usually, Circular are binding on the departmental officers. They have to act based on the circulars. But they are not binding on people.

For example – If the CBDT issues a Circular, the tax department has to follow them. The taxpayer can follow if it is to his advantage. If it is against the taxpayers wishes, he needn’t follow them.

Circular is a internal memo or note of the Ministry/Department, which may clarify certain aspect of law. It may be superseded by yet another circular or legislative amendment. It has a persuasive value in judiciary, though the Courts are not bound by these. Any person having objection with a circular may approach the concerned Ministry/Department and seek alteration to that circular, which if fails, may challenge the same in the Courts. Ministry/Department issuing the circular are bound by their own circular. If they wish, they may withdraw or issue another circular to supersede the previous one.

A Press Release is an Official announcement by the Government or the Board covering the highlights of the proposal. The press Release is made by Press Information Bureau ( The PIB is a nodal agency disseminates information to the print, electronic and new media on government plans, policies, program initiatives and achievements

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