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The need for interpretation only arises when the wording of the legal provisions is ambiguous, if it is not clear, if two views are possible, or if the meaning of the provisions is different from the subject of the legislation. If the language is clear and clear, no interpretation is needed to develop.


The dictionary definition of interpretation is “the act of trying to make sense of something.” In a legal context, interpretation refers to the process of understanding and comprehending a statute’s intent. The word “interpretation” comes from the Latin word “interpretari,” which means “to explain or translate.” The basic goal of interpreting a statute is to figure out what the law’s intent is.

The goal of statutory interpretation is to identify the legislature’s objective, which is expressed either explicitly or implicitly in the wording used. “By interpretation or construction,” SALMOND explains, “we mean the process by which courts seek to discern the meaning of the legislation through the channel of authoritative shapes in which it is written.”
The art of interpretation is as old as language itself. Even from the earliest stages of Hindu civilization and culture, complex norms of interpretation were developed. Various ancient textbooks emphasized the necessity of evading literal interpretation – “Merely following the wording of the law, decisions are not to be delivered, for, if any such decisions are lacking in equity, a major failure of Dharma is caused.”

As a result, interpretation is a well-known and important activity. Because of the intrinsic character of legislation as a source of law, interpretation is critical in connection to statute law. The process of enacting legislation and the process of interpreting legislation are two separate operations.

Several aids are employed in the interpreting process. They might be either statutory or non-statutory in nature.
Non-statutory aids are illustrated by common law rules of interpretation (along with certain suppositions relating to interpretation) and case laws relating to the interpretation of statutes, whereas statutory aids are demonstrated by the General Clauses Act, 1897, and specific definitions contained in individual Acts.


“The grammatical and ordinary perception of the words is to be abided to unless that would lead to some absurdity, repulsion, or lack of consistency with the rest of the instrument, in which particular instance the ordinary meaning sense of the words may be altered so as to prevent the absurdity and inconsistency, but no further,” said Lord Wensleydale in the Grey v Pearson case (1857).

As a result, it is a departure from the literal rule of interpretation. The literal rule emphasizes the literal interpretation of legal terms or terms used in a legal context, which can frequently result in ambiguity and absurdity. The golden rule aims to prevent unusual and absurd consequences from literal interpretation. As a result, the grammatical meaning of these words is frequently altered.

The court is usually concerned with delivering justice, and the golden rule is typically applied in order to anticipate the repercussions of their rulings. Because the technical and grammatical meanings of the law may not be sufficient, this rule of interpretation tries to give effect to the law’s spirit.

The terms of a statute must be accorded their ordinary meaning prima facie according to the Golden Rule since when the meaning of a word is clear, it is not the role of the courts to get involved in the alleged purpose. When grammatical interpretation results in absurdity, however, it is permitted to depart from and interpret statutes in a way that eliminates the absurdity.

When presented with multiple plausible interpretations of an enactment, the court has the authority to analyze the outcome of every interpretation in order to determine the genuine meaning of the legislature. The golden rule does not provide a clear way to determine whether or not an absurdity exists.

In a nutshell, it is an interpretation that will give effect to the legislative intent when the words themselves become confusing, as a result of modifying the language employed. On the surface, this rule appears to be the “Golden Rule,” as it appears to solve all difficulties. This strategy is also known as the altering method of interpretation because the literal meaning is altered to a certain extent. As a result of this rule, the implications or effects of an interpretation are given far more weight because they provide clues to the underlying meaning of a law.

There are two ways to apply the golden rule:

Narrow Technique– When a word or phrase has far more than one literal meaning, this approach is used. As a result, the judge is able to utilize the meaning in a way that avoids absurdity.

Broad Technique– Whenever there is just one literal meaning, this approach is used. However, using just one literal definition would be ludicrous. The court will change the meaning in this case to prevent the absurdity. The change will be made with the objective of the Parliament in enacting the law in this case in mind.


The term “interpretation” refers to determining the relevance of something, as well as determining an explanation for something that isn’t immediately clear. The process of drafting and interpreting a statute is as old as language itself.
The process of determining the actual meaning of the words used in a statute is known as statutory interpretation.
There is little need for interpretation rules when the statute’s text is clear. However, in some instances, the very same word or phrase might have many meanings. As a result, it is required to interpret the statute in order to determine its true objective.

From Heydon’s Case in 1854, statute interpretation has been an important component of English law, and while it may appear complicated, the key rules employed in interpretation are simple to understand. Even from the earliest stages of Hindu civilization and culture, complex norms of interpretation were developed. The guidelines offered by ‘Jaimini,’ the author of the Mimamsat Sutras, which were originally intended for srutis, were also used to interpret Smritis.
The concept of statutory interpretation cannot remain static. As new facts and circumstances emerge, interpreting statutes becomes a never-ending process.

Wherever the language of written law is unclear, not clear, or when two interpretations are available, or when the provision offers a different meaning, contradicting the purpose of the act, would there be a need for interpretation? There would be no need for interpretation if the language was clear and unambiguous.


When the meaning of a law can lead to absurdity or defeat the purposes of the enactment, it becomes the Court’s obligation to give effect to that interpretation. The law asks the court to go to the point of changing the meaning of terms in both the grammatical and common senses on occasion.

The court will not take a path that contradicts a provision of a law whose meaning appears to be relatively clear and obvious on the surface. This does not, however, imply that a law might be rewritten. It has to be possible to deduce the meaning of the words used from their context.

Unless the law’s phrases are nonsensical, confusing, or devoid of legitimate meaning, it is better to interpret them according to their normal and customary interpretation.

How is this golden rule of interpretation applied?
As a balance between the literal rule and the mischief rule, the golden rule can be proposed. It takes the literal interpretation route, giving the status its everyday meaning. On the same hand, if a literal interpretation results in an unreasonable consequence that is unlikely to achieve the act’s goals, the court has the authority to depart from the literal meaning. Also, while using, follows all applicable laws.

The following is an example of how to apply the rule in both its broad and narrow senses:

If a sign says, “Do not use the elevators if there is a fire,” the literal reading is that you should never use the elevator if there is a fire. But, this interpretation is nonsensical, and the sign’s true intent is to warn people not to use the elevators if there is a fire nearby.

The golden rule prevents a result that is contrary to public policy when employing a broader approach. A son, for example, kills his mother and then kills himself. The heirs of the mother’s property would either be the mother’s family or the son’s descendants, according to the law. In the interest of social policy, the court is likely to favour the mother’s family because there is an issue of benefitting from the crime.

The Golden Rule allows a court to consider an Act’s literal meaning. This rule allows a judge to deviate from the customary interpretation of a statute in order to avoid a ridiculous conclusion. When using the Literal Rule will result in an absurdity, this rule of legislative interpretation may be used. The Golden Rule provides a statute’s wording with its most basic, everyday meaning. When this could result in an irrational result that is doubtful to be the legislature’s objective, the golden rule enables a judge to deviate from this meaning.


In India, the Supreme Court and High Courts have utilized the Golden Construction of Statutes in a number of cases. When it appears that this rule is named even for literal rules, there may be some confusion. The golden rule begins with a search for the true definition of the provision, so if there is a clear meaning, plain and natural, and no repugnancy, the meaning is applied. However, when there is the potential of more than one meaning, one must go further to minimize annoyance by adjusting the language by adding, removing, or substituting terms in order to make the meaning correct expounding the legislature’s goal.

The Supreme Court concluded in Uttar Pradesh Bhoodan Yagna Samiti v. Brij Kishore that the term “landless person” employed in section 14 of the U.P. Bhoodan Yagna Act, 1953, which provided for the grant of land to landless people, was confined to “landless workers.” A landless labourer is someone who works in agriculture but does not own any land. The Court went on to say that “any landless individual” does not include a city-dwelling landless businessman. The Act’s goal was to put the Bhoodan movement into action, which aimed to distribute land to landless labourers that worked in agriculture. Even though he is landless, a businessman cannot gain from the Act.

In another case, under section 3A of the U.P. Sales Tax Act, 1948, Annapurna Biscuit Manufacturing Co. v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, U.P. Sales 34 Tax was set at 2% of turnover in the case of “cooked food.” The appellant company was in the business of making and selling biscuits. Whether biscuits, despite being meant for human consumption, could be considered as “prepared food” and so subject to taxation under the aforementioned provision’s notification. It was decided that if a statement can have a broader meaning, whether the broader or narrower interpretation should be recognized depends on the statute’s context. The words ‘prepared food’ did not cover the biscuit in this case.


Every country has its own legal system, with the goal of providing equal justice to all citizens. The court’s goal is to interpret the law in such a way that every citizen receives equal justice. The idea of blasters of interpretation was introduced to ensure that everyone was treated fairly. These are the rules that have emerged to determine the legislature’s true intent.

It is not always required for the language used in a statute to be clear, plain, and unambiguous, and in such circumstances, it is critical for courts to identify a clear and direct meaning of the words or sentences used by the legislature while also removing any questions that may exist.

This article is written by Tingjin Marak, a BA/LLB student at Ajeenkya DY Patil University Pune.

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