Important General Rules of Interpretation: A Study
18 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 2, 2016
A Statute is the ‘will of the legislature’. The legislature will follow the procedure laid down or prescribed in the enactment of laws. If there is any procedural defect in the legislative process, it may be cured immediately by appropriate legislative action i.e., by amendment to the existing provision or inserting a new one in its place, without canvassing or challenging in the courts. Courts are under a duty to interpret the Statute irrespective of ambiguity or lack of clarity or otherwise, in order to discharge its basic duty of doing justice. In this process, the courts have attempted to find out the intention of the legislature from the words used in the four corners of the relevant provisions. The usual rule that is adhered to is nothing to be implied, which is inconsistent with the words used in expressing the intention of the legislature, as the words used in the Statute speak for the intention of the legislature. As explained in Balasinor Nagrik Co-operative Bank’s Ltd., Case, the object of all interpretation of a Statute is to determine the intention of the law-maker from the language used to find out whether a particular case falls within the ambit of the intention so determined. Thus, the purpose of interpretation is to determine the intention of the legislature and in doing so, the Statute as a whole must be construed harmoniously by reading all the parts together. It follows that no part of it can be ignored or omitted in finding out the legislative intent. The courts have no power to vary the words of a Statue by following the maxim, “A verbis Legis non Est Recedendem” (you must not vary the words of a Statute). Lawyers and the courts are engaged in this exercise in a vast number of cases when the words used in the Statutes or expressions are ambiguous in order to resolve the inconsistencies or make the Statute workable as per the intent of the legislature. Salmond observed: “By interpretation or construction is meant, the process by which the courts seek to ascertain the meaning of the legislature through the medium of authoritative forms in which it is expressed”. This function has to be performed by the judiciary for the purpose of applying the provision of the Statute to a case before it, as otherwise justice cannot be done justly or fairly and the litigants as consumers of law are bound to suffer. Statutes are therefore to be construed according to the intention of the legislature which made it. The duty of the court is “to act upon the true intention of the legislature”.
Keywords: Dr Mukund Sarda New law College Pune, Dr Mukund Sarda Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Bharati Vidyapeeth University Pune, Prof Dr Mukund Bhagirath Sarda
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation