Judicial Dictionary

Pith and substance-Application of doctrine

Pith and substance—Application of doctrine

While ascertaining the validity of Statute the doctrine of pith and substance should be applied—Merely because a Statute incidentally trenches upon the matter outside the authorised field, it is not rendered invalid.

Where there is a seeming conflict between an entry in List II and an entry in List I, an attempt should be made to see whether the two entries cannot be reconciled so as to avoid a conflict of jurisdiction.

The validity of an Act is not affected if it incidentally trenches on matters outside the authorised field, and therefore it is necessary to inquire in each case what is the pith and substance of the Act impugned. If the Act, when so viewed, substantially falls within the powers expressly conferred upon the Legislature which enacted it, then it cannot be held to be invalid, merely because it incidentally encroaches on matters which have been assigned to another legislature.

If, on the view of the statute as a whole, you find that the substance of the legislation is within the express powers, then it is not invalidated if incidentally it affects matters which are outside the authorised field.

Ref: AIR 1951 SC 318 : (1951) SCR 682 : (1951) CriLJ SC 1361

Categories: Judicial Dictionary