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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chapter-14 Chapter Read down Some cautions-part-4

In D.R Venkatchalam and Ors. etc. vs. Dy. Transport Commissioner and Ors. etc it was observed that Courts must avoid the danger of apriori determination of the meaning of a provision based on their own pre- conceived notions of ideological structure or scheme into which the provision to be interpreted is somewhat fitted. They are not entitled to usurp legislative function under the disguise of interpretation.

While interpreting a provision the Court only interprets the law and cannot legislate it. If a provisionof law is misused and subjected to the abuse of process of law, it is for the legislature to amend, modify or repeal it, if deemed necessary. [See Rishabh Agro Industries Ltd. vs. P.N.B. Capital Services Ltd[1].

Francis Bennion in his book 'Statutory Interpretation' on pages 53 and 548 has dealt the matter as under:

"Under the British Constitution, the function of determining authoritatively the meaning of a parliamentary enactment is entrusted to the judiciary. In the words of Richard Burn they have the exposition of Acts, which must not be expounded 'in any other sense than is truly and properly the exposition of them'. This is but one aspect of the Court's general function of applying the relevant law to the facts of thecase before it. The starting point is, therefore, to consider this function."

"It is the function of the court alone to declare the legal meaning of an enactment. If anyone else (such as the draftsman of the provision) purports to lay down what the legal meaning is the court will tend to react adversely, regarding this as an encroachment upon its constitutional sphere".

A Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in Sanjeev Coke Manufacturing Companyv. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. & Anr[2]. observed as under:

"No one may speak forthe Parliament and Parliament is never before the Court After Parliament has said what it intends to say what the Parliament meant to say. None else. Once a statute leaves Parliament House, the Court's is the only authentic voice which may echo (interpret) the Parliament. This the Court will do with reference to the language of the statute and other permissible aids. The executive Government may place before the Court their understanding of what Parliament has said or intended to say or what they think was Parliament's object and all the facts and circumstances which in their view led to the legislation. When they do so, they do not speak for parliament. No act of Parliament may be struck down because of the understanding or misunderstanding of Parliamentary intention by the executive government or because their (the Government's) spokesmen do not bring out relevant circumstances but indulge in empty and self defeating affidavits. They do not and they cannot bind Parliament. Validity of legislation is not to be judged merely by affidavits filed on behalf of the State, but by all the relevant circumstances which the Court may ultimately find and more especially by what may be gathered from what the legislature has itself said. We have mentioned the facts as found by us and we do not think that there has been any infringement of the right guaranteed by Art. 14".

[1] Rishabh Agro Industries Ltd. vs. P.N.B. Capital Services Ltd. (2000 (5) SCC 515)]

[2] Sanjeev Coke Manufacturing Companyv. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. & Anr.,[1983] 1 SCR 1000 at P. 1029

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