Category Archives: Interpretation of Statutes

Word Substantial – Meaning of

 In Black’s Law Dictionary (6th Edn.) the word “substantial” is defined as

Substantial.—Of real worth and importance; of considerable value; valuable. Belonging to substance; actually existing; real; not seeming or imaginary; not illusive; solid; true; veritable. — Something worthwhile as distinguished from something without value or merely nominal. … Synonymous with material.’

The word “substantially“ has been defined to mean “essentially; without material qualification; in the main; in substance; materially”. In Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (5th Edn.), the word “substantial” means “of ample or considerable amount of size; sizeable, fairly large; having solid worth or value, of real significance; solid; weighty; important, worthwhile; of an act, measure, etc. having force or effect, effective, thorough”. The word “substantially” has been defined to mean “in substance; as a substantial thing or being; essentially, intrinsically”. Therefore the word “substantial” is not synonymous with “dominant” or “majority”. It is closer to “material” or “important” or “of considerable value”. “Substantially” is closer to “essentially”. Both words can signify varying degrees depending on the context.D.A.V. College Trust & Management Society v. Director of Public Instructions, (2019) 9 SCC 185

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Word “Means” and “Includes”

In P. Kasilingam v. P.S.G. College of Technology, 1995 Supp (2) SCC 348 the Hon’ble Supreme Court was dealing with the expression “means and includes”, wherein it was observed as follows:

“A particular expression is often defined by the legislature by using the word “means” or the word “includes”. Sometimes the words “means and includes” are used. The use of the word “means” indicates that ‘definition is a hard-and-fast definition, and no other meaning can be assigned to the expression than is put down in definition’. (See  Gough v. Gough, (1891) 2 QB 665 (CA); Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corpn. Ltd. v. Labour Court, (1990) 3 SCC 682). The word “includes” when used, enlarges the meaning of the expression defined so as to comprehend not only such things as they signify according to their natural import but also those things which the clause declares that they shall include. The words “means and includes”, on the other hand, indicate ‘an exhaustive explanation of the meaning which, for the purposes of the Act, must invariably be attached to these words or expressions’. (See:  Dilworth v. Commr. of Stamps, 1899 AC 99 (PC); Mahalakshmi Oil Mills v. State of A.P., (1989) 1 SCC 164). ”

It is thus clear that the word “means” indicates that the definition is exhaustive and complete. It is a hard-and-fast definition and no other meaning can be given to it. On the other hand, the word “includes” enlarges the scope of the expression. The word “includes” is used to signify that beyond the meaning given in the definition clause, other matters may be included keeping in view the nature of the language and object of the provision. D.A.V. College Trust & Management Society v. Director of Public Instructions, (2019) 9 SCC 185

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Repeal of a Statute – Effect of

In State of Rajasthan v. Mangilal Pindwal, (1996) 5 SCC 60, it was held as follows:

        “As pointed out by the Court, the process of substitution of statutory provision consists of two steps: first, the old rule is made to cease to exist and, next, the new rule is brought into existence in its place. In other words, the substitution of a provision results in repeal of the earlier provision and its replacement by the new provision. As regards repeal of a statute, the law is thus stated in Sutherland on Statutory Construction:

        “2042. The effect of the repeal of a Statute where neither a saving clause nor a general saving statute exists to prescribe the governing rule for the effect of the repeal, is to destroy the effectiveness of the repealed act in futuro and to divest the right to proceed under the Statute, which, except as to proceedings past and closed, is considered as if it had never existed.”

        In Qudrat Ullah v. Municipal Board, Bareilly, (1974) 1 SCC 202, it was held as under:         “This means that as a result of repeal of a statute as repealed ceases to exist with effect from the date of such repeal but the repeal does not affect the previous operation of the law which has been repealed during the period it was operative prior to the date of such repeal.” State of Rajasthan v. Trilok Ram, (2019) 10 SCC 383.

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