The John Willis article “Statutory Interpretation in a Nutshell” published in the Canadian Bar Review in 1938 which described about the principle rules of the modern Interpretation of statutes first time in the organized way. There is always different understanding of every human about any thoughts or legislation made by the Government. In the democracy system there is legislation, administration and Judiciary who implement the law made by Parliament to maintained the rule of law in the Country.
Therefore any professionals or related to Judicial system of the system with any reason has to know the interpretation skills to know the real meaning of the law otherwise its objects kills that legislation value. These principles of Interpretation of statute used by the law maker to reduced the complexity and contradiction of the statute to make it effective in the society.
Therefore we have to see here the importance of Interpretation of statute with their principle rules and their evolution with time to develop for avoiding the ambiguity of the stature. We have to see the classification of statute to understand the objects of various statutes to interpret it. As far as India is concern the Indian Judiciary has given more power than US Judiciary and British Judiciary to keep control on the misuse of parliament’s power or the administrative power.
Background History of Interpretation of Statute-
The interpretation of statutes has a long history dating back to ancient times. In ancient Greece, for example, laws were interpreted by judges and oracles who relied on divine guidance to interpret the meaning of laws.
In the Roman Empire, interpretation of laws was primarily the responsibility of the praetor, who was responsible for administering justice. The praetor would issue edicts that provided guidance on the interpretation of laws and the application of legal principles.
In medieval Europe, the interpretation of laws was heavily influenced by religious doctrine, and the Catholic Church played a significant role in shaping legal interpretation. The Church’s scholars and theologians developed principles of interpretation, such as the literal and spiritual senses of scripture, which were applied to legal texts as well.
During the Renaissance, legal scholars began to focus on the language and structure of legal texts, and the principles of interpretation began to shift towards a more linguistic approach. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the emergence of national legal systems and the rise of the modern state led to further developments in legal interpretation. Scholars began to argue that statutes should be interpreted in light of the intent of the legislature, rather than relying solely on the text of the law.
In the 19th century, the development of legal positivism led to a more formalistic approach to legal interpretation, which emphasized the plain meaning of the text and the strict application of legal rules. However, in the 20th century, there was a shift towards a more purposive approach to interpretation, which emphasized the broader policy objectives underlying the law.
Today, legal interpretation remains a complex and contested area of law, with scholars and practitioners debating the appropriate methods and principles for interpreting statutes.
What are the sources of interpretation of statutes?
In India, the interpretation of statutes is primarily governed by the Indian Constitution and the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The Indian Constitution sets out the fundamental principles and values of the Indian legal system, including the principles of equality, liberty, and justice.
The interpretation of statutes is also governed by various judicial decisions, including decisions of the Supreme Court of India and the High Courts. These decisions have established various principles of interpretation, such as the principle of harmonious construction, which requires that statutes be interpreted in a way that avoids conflicts between different provisions of the same law.
In addition to these sources, the legislature may also provide guidance on the interpretation of statutes through explanatory notes or other materials that accompany the statute. These materials may provide insight into the legislative intent behind the law and help to guide courts in their interpretation.
Finally, legal scholars and commentators also play a significant role in the interpretation of statutes in India. Through their writings and commentary, they may provide guidance on the principles of interpretation and help to shape the development of the law.
What is interpretation of statutes India?
The word Interpretation originally came from the Latin world “Interpretari” which means understand or explain. The statute means law that has been formally approved and written down by the legislative Assembly is called statute. The Interpretation statute is very crucial in the Judiciary and to other organ of the democracy to establish the rule of law. Earlier we have seen the article in details by John Willis in 1938 in the Canadian Bar Journal through his thesis about “Statutory Interpretation in a Nutshell”. which had given the importance to these principle in organized way.
The Interpretation of statute skill is very important to the professionals related to the Judicial system of the society to understand the law made by the legislature of that state. It is very difficult topic but we have to understand it otherwise we can not fully give justice to legal profession without it. This subject is gives us the framework of interpreting the law with these principles to give justice to that law. Otherwise language is so ambiguous that one sentence gives us various meaning and we easily conclude the wrong meaning of anybody’s sentence.
In Democratically model of rule making is depend on legal system and its better performance there is mainly three organ of the system where legislature makes the law and executive implement it at the ground level for the society. So there is always wrong interpretation makes by the executives to implement. Therefore there has to be framework of Interpretation of statute to run smoothly this system of democracy models. The Judiciary of that system is work the important role as a interpreter if Legislation and Administration fail to fulfill the object of any statute.
What is the principles of interpretation of statutes?
In the democracy power is not given any organ fully it was distributed to keep balance between it which system run properly so Judiciary has the power of Interpretation of statute but with some limitation. Judiciary has the power of making uncodifying law where statute is ambiguous or silent. The state legislation has the whole power of making statute as per their Constitution and object. They also have the limitation of making any statute which ultra-virus to the constitution.
The Judicial system is the main authority of Interpreting the statute properly with the object of the Constitution and declare ultra-virus to any law made by the Legislation. There is a principle of power and that is “Power is corrupts and absolute power is absolute corrupts” that is framework of Interpretation of statute keep control on the Judiciary to make a proper interpretation of the statute, The followings are the principles Rules of the Interpretation of Statute.
Primary Rules –
- Literal/Grammatical Rules –
The Literal Rule is use as the plain meaning of the statute where Interpretation of statute made as it is by the Interpreter. The Literal meaning has the clear and unambiguous statute where we have to apply as it is meaning of that statute. This is the safest way of Interpreting any law made by the lawmaker mainly through grammar and word of that statute. The Interpreter while executing the principles rules to any statute they mostly start with Literal Rule for Interpretation of any statute.
- Mischief Rules
The Mischief Rule was firstly used in 16th century in the case of Heydon which was used the following principles to Interpret the statute of Mischief Rules.
a) The common Law before the making of an Act
b) To find out the mischief of that particular statute
c) What is the remedy applied by the Law maker
d) What is the real reason of remedy applied by the Law makers
The mischief Rule applies by the Interpreter mainly to discover the object of the Law maker of the statute made by them. The application of the mischief Rules gives more power to Judges rathar than applying the golden rule or the literal rule. This mischief rule was criticized by many legal expert because it curtail the power of Parliament for law making and givers more power to the Judiciary which is dangerous to democratically structure of society.
- Golden Rules –
The Golden rule principle is mostly used in Judiciary of the world because of applicability towards statute where it solves the all problem of Interpretation of statute. The application of Golden Rule is completely opposite of the Literal Rule where there is plain meaning which creates lots of conflicts where in Golden Rule if any points against object of the statute solve by the Golden Rule principle. Therefore the Golden Rule allow Judges to depart from word normal meaning to avoid the absurd result of Interpretation.
- Harmonious Construction Rules –
The doctrine of Harmonious Construction Rule is applied when there is contradiction in any statute in different provision where one Interpretation of Court can make the law void so to avoid this Court use this doctrine to make existence of statute alive while Interpretation only particular part of the statute. The object of the Interpreter is to prevent confusion or contradiction between different section of the one statute. The Principle of Harmonious Rule is straight forward that every statute has a legal purpose and should be read as whole.
Secondary Rules –
- Noscitur a socils
- Ejusdem Generis
- Reddendo Sigula Sigulis
Types of Statutes –
As to use the principles rules to statute made by the legislation there are various types of statute which has different object and principles to apply the rules as per the classification of the statute. Every provision is not possible to be written in the statute so there has to be distribution of rule making power gives to the other organ of the system. It should have been remedial, penal, declaratory etc. which is given in the followings.
- Taxing Statutes
- Pinal Statures
- Enabling Statures
- Disabling Statutes
- Remedial Statutes
- Declaratory Statutes
- Codifying Statutes
- Consolidated Statutes
- Amending Statutes
- Repealing Statutes
What is meant by construction in law?
The Construction is different than Interpretation which has the main aim of the statute is to what the law says than the meaning of that statute. Where any statute is beyond the direct expression of particular text, it means the construction is the process of drawing conclusions of the subject beyond the Interpretation of any text. In the cases where literal rules of interpretation is not working and there is ambiguity in the statute where construction rule has to be applies.
What is internal and external aid in interpretation of statutes?
How the framework of the statute interpretation should be made is evolved by time to time with modern method of developed as per the given following structure of the statute interpretation. It can be apply as per the critical situation of the case by case interpretation. Whether the case is very plain to interpret then it is not requires but if the case is contradict with statute or there are more than two statute says different opinions then the following method of Aid can be used by the Judiciary or the professionals of legal field.
There are two types of method using by the judicial expert to utilized the outcome of interpretation of statute. The Internal Aid of Interpretation of statute and the External Interpretation of statute where all the points given below have be check to make a accurate interpretation of any critical or ambiguous statute. There has to be see the object and aim of the Legislation to keep the law alive without hampering its soul is the skill of interpretation in most of the time.
The Internal Aid of the Interpretation of Statutes –
- Short title
- Long title
- Marginal Notes
- Heading & title of the chapter
- Definition Clause
- Exceptions & saving clause
- Non obstante clause
The External Aid of the Interpretation of Statutes –
- Historical background
- Parliamentary History
- References of other statutes
- References of Committee Reports
- References of Foreign case laws
- Objects of the statutes
What are the features of Interpretation of Stature?
- The Statute must be read as a entire context.
- The intention of the statute by the law maker should be kept in mind.
- All the statute made by parliament is related to the General Clause Act which has all the main definition are there in this act to interpreted the law with most of the law having section 2 for definition of related words.
- There are Internal and External Air of source of the statute which has to refer for deep interpretation of statute.
- There is Golden Rule, Mischief Rule, Literal Rule and Harmonious Rule to interpret the statute mainly with various sub Rules principles are there to refer.
- Normal people read the statute only by the grammatic or linguistic manner but the professional of the Legal field like Judiciary or the legal professionals have to understand the framework of Interpretation of statute to read the law.
- Every principles of the Interpretation of statute is contradict to each other so to make a conclusion with keeping the object of the statute is the main aim of Interpreter.
- Legislation, Administration and Judiciary has their own power and their own interpretation of the statute so to collectively understand the one interpretation of any statute is very difficult so this responsibility is fulfill by the Judiciary.
- The statute made by the Parliament has some limitation because they can’t write every thing in legislation so they mention the declaratory power to make the rules as executing the law to fulfill the object of the law.
What is the role of judiciary in interpretation of statute?
Interpretation of statutes plays a crucial role in the Indian judicial system as it helps to ensure that laws are applied consistently and fairly, and that the intentions of the legislature are fulfilled. The importance of interpretation of statutes in the Indian judicial system can be seen in the following ways:
- Ensuring consistency: The interpretation of statutes is important in ensuring that laws are applied consistently across the country. By establishing clear principles of interpretation, the judiciary can help to ensure that laws are applied in a uniform manner, regardless of the location or circumstances of the case.
- Fulfilling legislative intent: The interpretation of statutes is also important in ensuring that the intentions of the legislature are fulfilled. By considering the purpose and intent of the law, the judiciary can ensure that the law is applied in a way that achieves its intended objectives.
- Protecting fundamental rights: The interpretation of statutes is crucial in protecting fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution. By interpreting laws in a way that upholds fundamental rights, the judiciary can help to ensure that the rights of citizens are protected and respected.
- Adapting to changing circumstances: The interpretation of statutes is also important in ensuring that laws remain relevant and effective in the face of changing circumstances. By adopting a dynamic approach to interpretation, the judiciary can ensure that laws are applied in a way that reflects the changing needs and realities of society.
In conclusion, the interpretation of statutes is essential in ensuring that laws are applied consistently, that the intentions of the legislature are fulfilled, and that fundamental rights are protected. It plays a critical role in the Indian judicial system and helps to ensure that the rule of law is upheld.
Critical Analysis of the Interpretation of Statutes Principles –
The influence of the politics and perceptions of human being are the obstacles of applying the Interpretation of statute framework. We have seen the activism of Judiciary in Indira Gandhi Government where there was debate between Judiciary and Parliament that who is more powerful. As per the Indian Constitution Article 13 gives the power to Judiciary the Interpret the statute with object of the Constitution. Whereas Article 368 gives power to Amend the Constitution for the Parliament.
There is Constitution always within the support of weaker section of the society where as democratically system is always in the influence of economical and social powerful section of the society. Therefore Interpretation of statute is always in the influence of elite society of the any state of the world and this is fact. There are very few people know the importance of Interpretation of statute in the society which is called professionals. But most of the majority society in the state is unaware of the value of Interpretation of statute.
Therefore we have seen the influence on interpretation of statute is of some major elite who interpret the law with their perceptions and political influence, this is the point of view, criticism gives while work of Judiciary. There is always good while applying Interpretation of statute principles while applying it to interpret the laws enacted in the country. Case law is uncodified laws in any country who applies this interpretation of statute principles where statute is silence on various issues. Therefore we have to understand that statute has always ambiguity in the document where disputes always arise. Therefore there is always influence on Interpretation of statute by the professionals of pre-mindset ideology where they have influence and interest.
The Judiciary system is very important part of democracy where the Rule of Law, interpretation enactment made by parliament is the part of Judiciary. Therefore Judiciary cannot makes decisions arbitrarily therefore framework of Interpretation of statute is very important to them and all the law professionals related to Judiciary. The Court obey the principles of Literal Rule, Mischief Rules and Golden Rules, the Harmonious rules also be follows by the Judiciary to keep work with Parliament without hearting their object of enactment.
In this article we have seen the importance of principles Rules and the object with there types of Rules in details. We have seen the historical information about principles of Rules where Mischief Rule was the first Rule evolved in 15th century and then after Golden Rules and Literal Rule evolved. Now todays modern Interpretation of statute is very progressive than earlier Interpretation of statute principles. We also understood the process of law making process and their sources to understand their object and meaning to interpret it properly by any professional expert of law.
There must be knowledge of the Principles Rules of Interpretation of Statute otherwise all the experts of law is incomplete without this knowledge. This framework of interpretation also keep in control the Judiciary to misuse of their power for Interpretation. The power of Parliament to make the low comes from their representatives but still they cannot misuse the statute so Judiciary has the power of Interpret the statute. The executives has to implement the statute at ground level so difficulties of their implementation and the fulfill the object is observed by the Judiciary.