Category Archives: Interpretation of Statutes

Introduction, Meaning and Nature of Interpretation

Introduction Enacted laws, especially the modern acts and rules, are drafted by legal experts and it could be expected that the language used will leave little room for interpretation or construction. But the experience of all those who have to bear and share the task of application of the law has been different.[1] Interpretation means the art of… Read More »

Rules of Interpretation

There are certain general principles of interpretation which have been applied by Courts from time to time. Primary Rules of Interpretation are discussed hereunder. Rule of Literal Interpretation In construing Statutes the cardinal rule is to construe its provisions literally and grammatically giving the words their ordinary and natural meaning. This rule is also known as the Plain… Read More »


[Laws enacted by the legislatures are interpreted by the judiciary. Their are internal aids to construction as well as external aids.] Introduction Laws enacted by the legislatures are interpreted by the judiciary. Enacted laws, specially the modern Acts and Rules, are drafted by legal experts and it could be expected that the language will leave little room for… Read More »


Introduction When internal aids are not adequate, court has to take recourse to External aids. External Aids may be parliamentary material, historical background, reports of a committee or a commission, official statement, dictionary meanings, foreign decisions, etc. In Prabhakar Rao and others v. State of A.P. and others[1],  O. Chennappa, Reddy J. has observed : Where internal aids are not forthcoming, we can always… Read More »


Introduction Statutes are either prospective or both prospective and retrospective from the point of its applicability i.e. the period of legal effect of statutes. All statutes in general have only prospective effect. It means applicability to future transactions. But certain statutes have to be sometimes both prospective and retrospective. “Retrospective” means the statute would apply and affect past… Read More »

Important Maxims related to Interpretation of Statutes

1. Ejusdem Generis According to the Black’s Law Dictionary (8th edition, 2004) the principle of Ejusdem Generis is where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or… Read More »


What is delegated legislation? Delegated legislation has been defined by: Salmond as “that which proceeds from any authority other than the sovereign power and is therefore dependent for its continued existence and validity on some superior or supreme authority“. In simple terms it means – when the function of legislation is entrusted to organs other than the legislature… Read More »


Meaning of Repeal Repeal means to revoke, abrogate or cancel particularly a statute. Any statute may repeal any Actin whole or in part, either expressly or impliedly by enacting matter contrary to and inconsistent with the prior legislation. Thus a statute frequently states that certain prior statutory provisions are thereby repealed. The courts will treat matter as repealed… Read More »