Interpretation Of Statutes

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Statue is said to be the will of the legislature. Will of the legislature includes meaning and the reason or spirit of the legislature, hence interpretation of status is very important to know, understand and apply the true will of the legislature. Interpretation is not a new concept; it is as old as the language itself. 

As per Salmond, Interpretation or Construction of a statute is the process by which the Courts seek to confirm the meaning of the legislature by the medium of the authoritative forms in which it is expressed

(a)Literal Construction
As per the rule of Literal Construction, words, phrases or sentences of a statute are to be ordinarily understood in their natural, ordinary or popular and grammatical meaning until and unless such a construction leads to an absurdity or the content or object of the statute suggests a different meaning. Here the objectives ‘natural’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘popular’ are used interchangeable.

(b) The Mischief Rule also known as Heydon’s Rule
In case of Heydon following set of rule was provided to interpret the statue.
(1) What was the Common Law before the making of the Act; 
(2) What was the mischief and defect for which the Common Law did not provide; 
(3) What remedy the parliament had resolved and appointed to cure the disease of the Commonwealth; 
(4) The true reason of the remedy

However as per Supreme Court Heydon’s rule is applicable only when the words in question are ambiguous and can have more than one meaning.

(c)Rule of Reasonable Construction
It is based on latin maxin Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pareat which means that the interpretation of a statute should give effect to the rule rather than destroying it.  So if there are two possible meaning of a statuate one gives effect to the provision of the statute and other makes it inoperative. Then the later one must be ignored. 

(d) Rule of Harmonious Construction
As per the rule of Harmonious Construction a statute must be read as a whole and one provision of the statute should be construed with reference to other provisions in the same statute so as to make a consistent meaning of the whole statute.

(e) Rule of Ejusdem Generis
Its literal meaning is “of the same kind or species”

(f) Noscitur a Sociis
 ‘Noscitur a Sociis’ means “It is known by its associates” so a meaning of a word should be known from its accompanying or associating words.

These online MCQ Mock tests and MCQ questions includes all main concepts of the chapter (Interpretation of Statutes) in CS Executive Module II Industrial, Labour and General Law (ILGL MCQ based OMR) Exam.

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