Harmonious Construction

Interpretation is the primary function of the court. Construction means drawing true conclusions on the basis of the true spirit of the enactment even though the same does not appear if the words used in the enactment are given their natural meaning. When two or more provisions of the same statutes are repugnant, the court will try to construe the provisions in such a manner, if possible, as to give effect to both by harmonizing them with each other. The court may do so by regarding two or more apparently conflicting provisions as dealing with separate situations or by holding that one provision mere provide for an exception for the general rule contained in the other.

The question as to whether separate provisions of the same statute are overlapping or are mutually exclusive may, however be very difficult to determine. The basis of the principle of harmonious construction probably is that the legislature must not have intended to contradict itself. This principle has been applied in a very large number of cases dealing with the interpretation of the constitution. It can be assumed that when the legislature gives something by one hand it won’t take it away by another hand. One provision of an act won’t make another provision of the same act useless. The legislature cannot be presumed to contradict itself by enacting apparently two conflicting provisions in the same act. In Y.V. Srinivasa Murthy vs. State of Mysore (AIR 1959 SC 894) the questions were whether the Mysore Cinematograph Shows Act,1951 enacted by the state legislature under Entry no. 62 of list 2 of the seventh schedule of the constitution interfered with the union power under entry 60 of list 1, and whether entry 33 of list 2 is subject to entry 60 of list 1. Further Cinema had to be specifically mentioned in entry 33 of list 2 in order to avoid any possible conflict between it and entry 60 of the Union list.

In Raj Krishna vs. Binod (AIR 1954 SC 202) the question before the court was the conflict between section 33(2) and 123(8) of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. Section 33(2) empowers a government servant to nominate or second a candidate seeking election whereas section 123(8) says that a government servant is not entitled to assist a candidate in an election in any manner except by casting his votes. Holding that a government servant was entitled to nominate or second a candidate seeking election to the state legislative Assembly, the Supreme Court held that both these provisions should be harmoniously interpreted. Harmony was possible only if section 123(8) of the act is interpreted as conferring power on a government servant of voting as well as of proposing and seconding a candidature and forbidding him from assisting a candidate in any other manner.

In Waverley Jute Mills vs. Raymond and Company (AIR 1963 SC 90) the Supreme Court observed that the entries in the various lists in schedule seven of the constitution should be so construed as to give effect to all of them and a construction, which will result in any of them being rendered futile must be avoided.  Where there are two entries, one general in its character and the other specific, the former must be construed as excluding the latter.


  1. The Interpretation of Statutes – prof. T. Bhattacharyya – Central Law Agency
  2. https://www.ilms.academy

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.


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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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