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The most comprehensive coverage on the construction of Statutes. It includes parts of statutes,Extrinsic-Aids,Intrinsic aids, Reading down, Amendments,Repeals,codifications,Quasi-Judicial agencies,Non-obstante clause,Mandatory/Declatory provisions,Tax ,Beneficial, Criminal,Fiscal Statute's Interpretation and sub-ordinate legislations.Besides it contains the Rules of Interpretation and the Role of Judiciary.Citations are in abundance.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chapter-9 Part-6

However, it has not been made clear as to what is ‘fairer and more convenient.’ The usage of the terms have made the language more ambiguous.

Lord Wensleydale: you use ‘the grammatical and ordinary meaning of the words ... unless that would lead to some absurdity or some repugnance or inconsistency with the rest of the document[1] Wilson JJ –“ for ‘reason already given in relation to the discussion of the literal rule’, departure from ordinary meaning cannot be restricted to cases of absurdity and inconsistency[2].”more emphasis on real intention [3]

The rule of strict construction does not also prevent the court in interpreting a statute according to its current meaning and applying the language to cover developments in science and technology not known at the time of passing of the statute.[4]

A statute must be construed as a workable instrument. Ut res magis valeat quam pereat is a well-known principle of law. "The courts strongly lean against any construction which tends to reduce a statute to a futility. The provision of a statute must be so construed as to make it effective and operative, on the principle "ut res magis valeat quam pereat". It is, no doubt, true that if a statute is absolutely vague and its language wholly intractable and absolutely meaningless, the statute could be declared void for vagueness. This is not in judicial review by testing the law for arbitrariness or unreasonableness under Article 14; but what a court of construction, dealing with the language of a statute, does in order to ascertain from, and accord to, the statute the meaning and purpose which the legislature intended for it[5]. "Unless the words were so absolutely senseless that I could do nothing at all with them, I should be bound to find some meaning and not to declare them void for uncertainty[6]."

Lord Denning approving the dictum of Farwell, J. said : "But when a Statute has some meaning, even though it is obscure, or several meanings, even though it is little to choose between them, the courts have to say what meaning the statute to bear rather than reject it as a nullity[7]." It is, therefore, the court's duty to make what it can of the statute, knowing that the statutes are meant to be operative and not inept and that nothing short of impossibility should allow a court to declare a statute unworkable. "A statute is designed to be workable, and the interpretation thereof by a court should be to secure that object, unless crucial omission or clear direction makes that end unattainable.[8]" The Courts will therefore reject that construction which will defeat the plain intention of the Legislature even though there may be some inexactitude in the language used[9].. Reducing the legislation futility shall be avoided and in a case where the intention of the Legislature cannot be given effect to, the Courts would accept the bolder construction for the purpose of bringing about an effective result. The Courts, when rule of purposive construction is gaining momentum, should be very reluctant to hold that the Parliament has achieved nothing by the language it used when it is tolerably plain what it seeks to achieve[10].

"We think, it is not necessary to proliferate this judgment by citing all the judgments and extracting the textual passages from the various textbooks on the principles of Interpretation of Statutes. However, it will suffice to say that while interpreting a statute the consideration of inconvenience and hardships should be avoided and that when the language is clear and explicit and the words used are plain and unambiguous, we are bound to construe them in their ordinary sense with reference to other clauses of the Act or Rules as the case may be, so far as possible, to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute or series of statutes/rules/regulations relating to the subject matter. Added to this, in construing a statute, the Court has to ascertain the intention of the law making authority in the backdrop of the dominant purpose and the underlying intendment of the said statute and that every statute is to be interpreted without any violence to its language and applied as far as its explicit language admits consistent with the established rule of interpretation.[11]"

[1] Gray v Pearson (HL) (1857)

[2] Cooper Brookes (Wollongong) Pty Ltd v Federal Commissioner of Taxation (HC) (1981) ab

[3] Cooper Brookes (Wollongong) Pty Ltd v Federal Commissioner of Taxation (HC) (1981) above also see -Kingston v Keprose Pty Ltd (NSWSC) (1987),McHugh J (now on HC) at 421-423 modern case-
May v Public Transport Commission (VicSC) (1989)

[4] See: Lalita Jalan & Anr. Vs. Bombay Gas Co. Ltd. & Ors. reported in 2003 (4) SCALE 52).

[5] Tinsukhia Electric Supply Co. Ltd. vs. State of Assam [AIR 1990 SC 123], this Court stated the law thus

[6] Manchester Ship Canal Co. v. Manchester Racecourse Co. ((1900) 2 Ch 352,

[7] Fawcett Properties Ltd. v. Buckingham County Council ((1960) 3 All ER 503)

[8] Whitney v. Inland Revenue Commissioners (1926 AC 37)

[9] Salmon vs. Duncombe [(1886) 11 AC 627 at 634]

[10] BBC Enterprises Vs. Hi-Tech Xtravision Ltd., (1990) 2 All ER 118 at 122-3)

[11] Mohan Kumar Singhania and Others vs. Union of India and Others [AIR 1992 SC 1]

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