INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES

Interpretation is the primary function of a court. Sometimes the words used in a statute are not clear, explicit and unambiguous. The court needs to determine a clear and explicit meaning of the words or phrases used by the legislature. Since, the intent of the legislature is expressed generally in the form of a statute. The prime concern of the court is to seek out the intention of the legislature in the in the statute. The words interpretation and construction are generally used synonymously even they are different in application. Interpretation can be termed as the art of discovering the true meaning of the language which has been used in the statutes. But, construction is  defined as drawing inferences on the  basis of the true spirit of the enactment. The purpose of construction is to determine the legal effect of words and the written text of the statute. The term has been derived from the Larin term ‘interpretari’, which means to explain, expound, understand and translate.

CLASSIFICATION OF STAUTUES:

  • Codifying Statutes: The purpose of this kind of statute is to give an authoritative statement of the rules of the law on a particular subject, which are generally customary laws. For example, The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and The Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
  • Consolidating Statutes: This kind of statue combines all laws on a particular subject at one place which was scattered and lying at different places. For example, IPC, 1860.
  • Remedial Statute: Remedies for enforcing one’s right can be done through the remedial statutes. The main aim is to promote the general welfare for bringing social reforms through the system. For example, The Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 and The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 etc.
  • Penal Statutes: Various types of offences are provided through these statutes and strictly followed. For example, Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  • Repealing Statutes: A repealing statute is considered as a statute which terminates an earlier statute and done in the explicit language of the statute. For example, Competition Act, 2002 repealed the MRTP Act.
  • Taxing Statutes: Tax is a form of revenue collected by the Government. It can be charged on income that an individual earns or any specific transaction involves buying and selling. This statute levies taxes on all such transactions such as income tax, wealth tax, sales tax etc. Therefore, tax levied when it is specifically expressed and provided by any statute.

RULES OF INTERPRETATION:

  • Strict Interpretation: Strict interpretation means each word in the statute should be interpreted by the letter and not with respect to the spirit behind the statute. A judge has to apply the literal words in the statute if there is no ambiguity. Here in strict interpretation, the courts will use the literal rule of interpretation.
  • Reasonable Construction: Reasonable construction follows the principle of ‘Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pareat’ which means when the interpretation of the statute should be done in a meaningful and sensible manner. If a statute having two sides of interpretation where one is completely absurd and other one makes sense then that meaningful interpretation should be used.
  • Golden Rule: The Golden rule is also called as British rule of interpretation. This method of interpretation is also known as the compromise method between literal rule and the mischief rule. In the literal rule, judges will only use the word meaning, but sometimes this may be irrational. When it seems to be impossible to reconcile the differences in contradictory provisions, then court must interpret in such a way that effect is given to both the provisions.
  • Mischief Rule: The main purpose is to bring  amendments in the statute. It is to add or to make certain changes in the existing law and make it wider. Legislating a new law is to resolve the problem which was unable to resolve through the other laws which were existing before. And this helps in finding out the answers to those questions which were unanswered in the previous law.

CONCLUSION:

Every nation has a unique judicial system, the purpose is to grant justice to all. The court aims to interpret the law in such a manner that every citizen is ensured justice to all. To ensure justice to all the areas of interpretation was expounded. These rules are evolved for determine the real intention of the legislature. It is not necessary that the words used in a statute need to be clear, explicit and unambiguous all the time. Thus, in such cases it is very essential for courts to determine a clear and explicit meaning of the words or phrases used by the legislature and at the same time remove all the doubts if any.

REFERENCES:

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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