External+Aids+for+Interpretation+Under+the+Indian+Law

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EXTERNAL AIDS FOR INTERPRETATION UNDER THE INDIAN LAW For the purpose of construction or interpretation, the court obviously has to take recourse to various internal and external aids. “Internal aids” mean those materials which are available in the statute itself, though they may not be part of enactment. These internal aids include, long title, preamble, headings, marginal notes, illustrations, punctuation, proviso, schedule, transitory provisions, etc. When internal aids are not adequate, cour
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  EXTERNAL AIDS FOR INTERPRETATION UNDER THE INDIAN LAW For the purpose of construction or interpretation, the court obviously has to take recourse tovarious internal and external aids. “Internal aids” mean those materials which are available in thestatute itself, though they may not be part of enactment. These internal aids include, long title, preamble, headings, marginal notes, illustrations, punctuation, proviso, schedule, transitory provisions, etc. When internal aids are not adequate, court has to take recourse to external aids. Itmay be parliamentary material, historical background, reports of a committee or a commission,official statement, dictionary meanings, foreign decisions, etc.The Supreme Court has accepted the necessity of external aids in interpretation of statutory provision. O.Chennappa Reddy J. in B. Prabhakar Rao and others v State of A.P. and others , 1  has observed : “Where internal aids are not forthcoming, we can always have recourse to external aids todiscover the object of the legislation. External aids are not ruled out. This is now a well settled  principle of modern statutory construction.” (para 7) Recently, in District Mining Officer and others v Tata Iron & Steel Co. and another 2 SupremeCourt has observed: “It is also a cardinal principle of construction that external aids are brought in by widening theconcept of context as including not only other enacting provisions of the same statute, but its preamble, the existing state of law, other statutes in pari materia and the mischief which the statute was intended to remedy.” (para 18) So far as admissibility and utility of these external aids are concerned, law is almost settled in our country now. The Supreme Court in K.P. Varghese v Income Tax Officer Ernakulam 3 hasstated that interpretation of statute being an exercise in the ascertainment of meaning, everythingwhich is logically relevant should be admissible. 1 AIR 1986 SC 120. 2 (2001) 7 SCC 358. 3 AIR 1981 SC 1922.  Following are some known external aids, which are admissible for the interpretation of statutory provisions: (1) Parliamentary material (a) DebatesCourts often take recourse to parliamentary material like debates in Constituent Assembly,speeches of the movers of the Bill, Reports of Committees or Commission, Statement of Objectsand Reasons of the Bill, etc. As per traditional English view, these parliamentary material or Hansard were inadmissible as external aids, on the basis of  ‘exclusionary rule’  . This “exclusionaryrule” was slowly given up and finally in Pepper v Hart 4  it was held that parliamentary material or Hansard may be admissible as an external aid for interpretation of a statute, subject to parliamentary privilege, under following circumstances; where(a) legislation is ambiguous or obscure or leads to an absurdity;(b) the material relied on consists of one or more statements by a minister or other promoter of theBill, together, if necessary, with such other parliamentary material as is necessary to understandsuch statements and their effect; and(c) the statements relied on are clear.Indian Courts, in early days followed the ‘exclusionary rule’  which prevailed in England andrefused to admit parliamentary material or Constituent Assembly debates for the purpose of interpretation of statutory or constitutional provision (see State of Travancore- Cochin andothers v Bombay Co. Ltd. 5 ; Aswini Kumar Ghose and another v Arbinda Bose and another 6 .)However, in subsequent cases, the Supreme Court relaxed this ‘exclusionary rule’  , much beforethe law laid down in England in ‘Pepper’ case. Krishna Iyer J. in State of Mysore v R.V. Bidop 7 quoted a passage from Crawford on Statutory Construction (page 383) in which exclusionary rulewas criticized. The relevant passage is quoted below:- 4 (1993) 1 ALLER 42 (HL) 5 AIR 1952 SC 366. 6 AIR 1952 SC 369. 7 AIR 1973 SC 2555.  “The rule of Exclusion has been criticized by jurists as artificial. The trend of academic opinionand the practice in the European system suggests that interpretation of statute being an exercise inthe ascertainment of meaning, everything which is logically relevant should be admissible” Krishna Iyer J. has observed in this case:- “There is a strong case for whittling down the Rule of Exclusion followed in the British courts and  for less apologetic reference to legislative proceedings and like materials to read the meaning of the words of a statute.”   (para 5) In this regard, Bhagwati J. (as he then was) in Fagu Shaw etc. v The State of West Bengal   8 hasstated: “Since the purpose of interpretation is to ascertain the real meaning of a constitutional provision,it is evident that nothing that is logically relevant to this process should be excluded fromconsideration. It was at one time thought that the speeches made by the members of theConstituent Assembly in the course of the debates of the Draft Constitution were whollyinadmissible as extraneous aids to the interpretation of a constitutional provision, but of late therehas been a shift in this position and following the recent trends in juristic thought in some of theWestern countries and the United States, the rule of exclusion rigidly followed in Anglo American jurisprudence has been considerably diluted…We may therefore legitimately refer to the Constituent Assembly debates for the purpose of ascertaining what was the object which the Constitution makers had in view and what was the purpose which they intended to achieve when they enacted cls (4) and (7) in their present form.”(para 45) Again in R.S. Nayak v A.R. Antulay  9 the Supreme Court observed in this regard: 8 AIR 1974 SC 613. 9 (Supra).  “…Therefore, it can be confidently said that the exclusionary rule is flickering in its dying embersin its native land of birth and has been given a decent burial by this Court.” (para 34) The Supreme Court in a numbers of cases referred to debates in the Constituent Assembly for interpretation of Constitutional provisions. Recently, the Supreme Court in S.R. Chaudhuri vState of Punjab and others 10 has stated that it is a settled position that debates in the ConstituentAssembly may be relied upon as an aid to interpret a Constitutional provision because it is thefunction of the Court to find out the intention of the framers of the Constitution. (para 33)But as far as speeches in Parliament are concerned, a distinction is made between speeches of themover of the Bill and speeches of other Members. Regarding speeches made by the Members of the Parliament at the time of consideration of a Bill, it has been held that they are not admissible asextrinsic aids to the interpretation of the statutory provision. (see - K.S. Paripoornan v State of Kerala and others 11 ). However, speeches made by the mover of the Bill or Minister may bereferred to for the purpose of finding out the object intended to be achieved by the Bill (see K.S.Paripoornan’s case . 12 J. S. Verma J (as he then was) in R.Y. Prabhoo (Dr.) v. P.K. Kunte 13 made extensive reference to the speech of the then Law Minister Shri A.K. Sen for construing theword ‘his’  occurring in sub-section (3) of section 123 of the Representation of People Act 1951.Similarly, Supreme Court in P.V. Narsimha Rao v State   14 agreeing with the view taken in Pepper v Hart (Supra) has observed: “It would thus be seen that as per the decisions of this Court, the statement of the Minister whohad moved the Bill in Parliament can be looked at to ascertain mischief sought to be remedied bythe legislation and the object and purpose for which the legislation is enacted. The statement of the Minister who had moved the Bill in Parliament is not taken into account for the purpose of interpreting the provision of the enactment.” (Para 77). 10 (2001) 7 SCC 126. 11 AIR 1995 SC 1012. 12 ( supra). 13 (1995) 7 SCALE 1 14 AIR 1998 SC 2120
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