The Mischief Rule

The Mischief Rule

The mischief rule of interpretation originated in Haydon’s case. In this case, the Boron’s of the exchequer resolved “that for the sure and true interpretation of all statutes in general four things are to be discerned and concerned; (1st) What are the common laws before the making of the act. (2nd) What was the mischief and defect for which the common law sis not provide. (3rd) what remedy the parliament had resolved and appointed to cure the disease of the common wealth , (4th) The true reason of the remedy ; and office of all the judges is  always to make such construction as shall suppress the mischief ,and advance the remedy , and to suppress subtle inventions and evasions for continuance of the mischief , and pro private commodo ,  and to add force and life to the cure and remedy ,according to the true intent of the makers of the act , pro bono publico” .

This principle is also known as the rule of purposive construction. It has been said in Macmillan vs. Dent, that in interpreting an act of parliament you are entitled , and in many cases bound , to look to the state of the law at the date of passing of the act , not only the common law but the law as it then stood under previous statutes , in order to properly interpret the statute in question . Thus, the mischief rule as it was originally laid down has now been modified to the extend that only the common law but also statute law prior to the act being interpreted needs to look into .

In Ranjit Udeshi vs. State of Maharashtra , the appellant was convicted under section 292, IPC for selling an obscene book titled “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”. He contended that the prosecution had a duty to prove guilty mind against him which in this case is the knowledge that the book contained obscene material . Further, he argued that when there is a very large number of books in a book shop , the shopkeeper is not expected to go through each book to see as to whether some books contain obscene literature. Rejecting these arguments the Supreme Court held that there was no ambiguity in the language of the enactment and that the meaning of section 292 is clear and precises. Further, the mischief of sale of obscene literature was sought be remedied by the provision and, therefore , the interpretation given by the appellant was un acceptable .


  2. The Interpretation of Statutes – Prof. T. Bhattacharyya – Central Law Agency 

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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