Law Notes 16mrks

Close
16mrks

About Us

Law Notes 16mrks

This Website and 16mrks App has been developed for law students as reading law books and making notes from them in law school is a cumbersome process. 16mrks helps solve this problem. Law notes are based on questions asked for 16 marks for BSL / BA LLB Course and LLM Course. These notes can also be referred for Civil Competitive Exams i.e. UPSC and MPSC .

Please take note that all topics might not be covered. New topics will be added over updates.

Frequently asked questions are covered.

Courses:

1. BSL / BA LLB

2. LLB

3. JMFC / UPSC / MPSC

Reference books : As suggested by the University of Pune in their syllabus.

Please contAct us at 16mrks@gmail.com and share your notes with us to help other students!


  • Get it on Google Play

Search

Categories

Synopsis

I. Introduction

II. External Aids to Construction.

1. Historical Facts and Surrounding Circumstances

2. Parliamentary History

3. Bill - Speeches and Debates

4. Change in Social Conditions

5. Posterior, Political, Social and Economic Developments and Scientific Inventions

6. Reference to other Statutes

i. Statutes "in pari materia"

ii. Assistance of latter statutes

iii. Incorporation/Reference of earlier statute

iv. Codifying statutes

v. Consolidating Statutes

7. Doctrine of "stare decisis"

8. Textbooks

9. Dictionaries

10. Foreign Decisions

I. Introduction

Interpretation can be described as the art of finding out the true meaning of words.

External aids are relevant only in cases where the language used in the statute is not clear and two meanings are possible.

II. External Aids to Construction.

Following are the different external aids to construction:

1. Historical Facts and Surrounding Circumstances

The external aid in the form of historical facts and circumstances surrounding the legislation is necessary and quite useful in understanding the subject matter of the statute and thereby, to arrive at the legislative intent. [D.K. Trivedi & Sons v. State of Gujrat (1986)]

If the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous, there is no need to refer to any external aid; consequently, the historical facts and surrounding circumstances must give way to the clear language of the statue. [CIT v. Sodra Devi (1957)]

2. Parliamentary History

Historical evolution of a provision can be relied upon as an external aid to construction. [Mohan Lal Tripathi v. District Magistrate, Rai Bareilly (1992)]

White paper giving details of the facts leading to enactment of a statute issued by the government is admissible for understanding the background, when the court is called upon to interpret and decide the validity of a particular statute.

Extensive reference was made to the white paper for the purpose of understanding the background of the Rama Janmabhumi Babri Masjid Dispute and the constitutionality of the acquisition of certain areas of Ayodhya Act, 1993.

In Golak Nath v. State of Punjab, it was held that the historical background and, perhaps, what was accepted or what was rejected by the Constituent Assembly while the Constitution was being framed may be taken into account in finding out the scope and extent of Article 368.

3. Bill - Speeches and Debates

Speeches of Members of Parliament are recognised as external aids to construction. They are in a similar position to Constituent Assembly Debates. The reports of commissions and enquiry committees, which precede the introduction of a bill, have been used for interpretation.

Indira Sawhney v. Union of India (1992)

In this case, it was observed that constituent assembly debates are external aids. They are not conclusive for interpretation of any expressions. It held that the court cannot ignore the present by going into the past.

State of Travancore v. Bombay Co. Ltd.

In this case it was held that a speech made in the course of the debate on a bill could at the best be indicator of the subjective intent of the speakers but it could not reflect the inarticulate mental process lying behind the majority vote which carried the bill. Nor is it reasonable to assume that the minds of all those legislators were in accord.

4. Change in Social Conditions

Anuj Garg v. Hotel Assn. Of India (1930)

In this case under Section 30, Punjab Excise Act, 1914, the Act prohibited the employment of any man or woman under 25 years of age to be employed in any part of premises wherein intoxicating drugs were consumed by public. But having regard to the present social conditions and equality of men and women under the constitution, the same was declared invalid. In the same way change in social attitude has brought about a change in the interpretation of the word "person". In some European countries the word person did not include a woman but in 1929, the Privy Council included a woman in the word person and this made her competent to vote.

5. Social and Economic Developments and Scientific Inventions

The courts are free to apply the current meaning of the statute to the present-day conditions.

State v. S.J. Choudhary (1996)

In this case it was held that the legislature is presumed to anticipate the temporal development and to intend the act to be applied in such a way as to give effect to the tone intention. The statute should be construed as to continuously update the wordings in accordance with the changes in social conditions, Science and Technology. In this case expert opinion about the typewriter on which the questioned document was typed was in question. Since typing had become more common than handwriting and this change is on account of the availability of type writers and their common use, much after the statute was enacted in 1872 , it was held that, the opinion of the typewriter expert in this context is admissible under Section 45, Evidence Act, 1872.

6. Reference to different Statutes

i. Statutes "in pari materia"

Statutes dealing with the same subject matter or forming part of the same system are known as statutes in pari materia.

According to Sutherland:

Statutes are considered to be in pari materia to pertain to the same subject matter when they relate to the same persons or thing or have the same purpose or object.

In Nagpur Improvement Trust v. Vasantrao, the schedules to Punjab Town Improvement Act, 1922 and Nagpur Improvement Trust Act, 1936 though not identical, have been held to be in pari materia.

ii. Assistance of latter statutes

A later statute is normally not used as an aid to construction of an earlier statute.

If the subsequent legislation proceeds upon an erroneous construction of previous legislation, it cannot alter that previous legislation, but if there is any ambiguity in the earlier legislation, then the subsequent legislation may fix the proper interpretation which is to be put upon the earlier. [Cape Brandy Syndicate v. IRC (1921)]

iii. Incorporation/Reference of earlier statute

Ichchapur Industrial Coop. Society Ltd. v. Competent Authority, ONGC (1997)

In this case it was held that, legislation by incorporation or by reference is a legislative device adopted for the sake of convenience in order to avoid verbatim reproduction of the provisions of the earlier act into the latter.

iv. Codifying statutes

The purpose of a codifying statute is to present an orderly and authoritative statement of the leading rules of law on a given subject, whether those rules are to be found in statute law or common law. [ Halsbury's Laws of England, Vol. 44 (4th Edn.) 489.]

v. Consolidating Statutes

Consolidation is an Act which brings together statutory provisions contained in number of existing statutes, without altering the substance of the law.

The purpose of consolidating statutes is to present the whole body of statutory law on a subject in complete form repeating the former statute. Codification is the process of incorporation of the law on a particular topic or subject, in statutes.

7. Doctrine of "stare decisis"

The expression means to abide by the decisions. Article 141 of the Constitution recognizes this Doctrine. It is binding on all Courts in India except the Supreme Court because the Supreme Court of India is free to depart from its previous decisions for valid reasons, like the House of Lords in England. [Bengal Immunity Co. Ltd. v. State of Bihar (1955)]

According to this rule, the principle of the law which has become settled by a series of decisions, is generally binding on the courts and should be followed in similar cases. This rule is based on expediency and public policy.

8. Textbooks

The Privy Council in Collector of Madura v. Mootoo Ramalinga Sethupathi (1868), observed:

"according to the established rules in our courts, it is not open to the court to go back to the old text in order to see whether the interpretations placed on them by the recognised commentators are correct or not."

It is the discretion of the courts to accept or reject the meaning given in the textbooks.

9. Dictionaries

When words are not defined in an act itself it is permissible to look into a dictionary to find out the general sense of the word.

When a plain meaning of the provision brings out what was intended, dictionary meaning is not to be considered. [State of Maharashtra v. Praful B. Desai (2003)]

10. Foreign Decisions

The Supreme Court is not bound by decisions of foreign courts. [M.C Mehta v. Union of India]

Foreign decisions and textbooks have only persuasive value. [General Electric Co. v. Union of India (1987)]

Foreign decisions as observed in B.R. Enterprises v. State of UP (1999), can be referred to, to take stock of the view as to with what vision the judges judged and what they meant and understood, while dealing with the same subject matter as is concerned in the statute to be interpreted.

!

  • Get it on Google Play

Copyright © 2018 Law Notes 16mrks. All Rights Reserved.