Category: Statutory Interpretation

Interpretation must depend on the text and the context

Interpretation must depend on the text and the context. They are the basis of interpretation. One may well say if the text is the texture, context is what gives the colour. Neither can be ignored. Both are important. That interpretation is best which makes the textual interpretation match the contextual.

Where statutory provision is plain and unambiguous- Court shall not interpret the same in a different manner

The Court’s jurisdiction to interpret a statute can be invoked when the same is ambiguous. It is well known that in a given case the Court can iron out the fabric but it cannot change the texture of the fabric. It cannot enlarge the scope of legislation or intention when the language of the provision is plain and unambiguous. It cannot add or subtract words to a statute or read something into it which is not there. It cannot rewrite or recast legislation.

We ‘the people’ clause of a constitution

The Constitution of the United States was not ordained and established by the States, but, as the preamble declares, by “the people of the United States.” It was competent for the people to invest the general government with all the powers which they might deem proper and necessary; to extend or restrain these powers, according to their own good pleasure, and to give them a paramount and supreme authority.

Marginal Notes of an Act

What authority has the Master of the Rolls for saying that the courts do look at the marginal notes?” Per Bramwell, L.J.: “What would happen if the marginal notes differed from the section, which is a possibility, as is shown in section 112 of this Act? Does the marginal note repeal the section, or does the section repeal the marginal note?”

Heading in statute- purpose

The headings of a portion of a statute may be referred to in order to determine the sense of any doubtful expressions in sections ranged under it. (Hammersmith and City Railway Co. v. Brand, L.R. 4 H.L. 171, 203; but see—per Lord Cairns, id. p. 217. Eastern Counties Rail. Co. v. Marriage, 9 H.L. Ca. 32. Union Steamship Co. of N.Z. v. Melbourne Harbour Trust, 9 App. Ca. 365.)

Title of a statute

The enacting part of an Act is not to be controlled by the title or recitals unless the enacting part is ambiguous, and then the title and recitals may be referred to for the purpose of ascertaining the intention of the legislature. (Bentley v. Rotherham Local Board

Deeming provision means

When a statute enacts that something shall be deemed to have been done, which in fact and truth was not done, the Court is entitled and bound to ascertain for what purposes and between what persons the statutory fiction is to be resorted to…

How to interpret a taxing statute

In interpreting a taxing statute, equitable considerations are entirely out of place. A taxing statute cannot be interpreted on any presumption or assumption. A taxing statute has to be interpreted in the light of what is clearly expressed; it cannot imply anything which is not expressed; it cannot import provisions in the statute so as to supply any deficiency.

It shall be lawful – means

In Julius v. Bishop of Oxford (1880) 5 A.C. 214 it was observed by Cairns, L.C., at pp. 222-223 that the words “it shall be lawful” conferred a faculty or power, and they did not of themselves do more than confer a faculty or power.

When language of the provision is plain and unambiguous, the question of supplying ‘casus omissus’ does not arise

Apex Court in the case of Union of India and Anr. v. Shardindu held that when language of the provision is plain and unambiguous, the question of supplying ‘casus omissus’ does not arise and the Court can interpret a law but cannot legislate. Therefore, recent trend for supplying gape in legislation is concerned, the Court will be loath in exercise of power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India