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College Of Legal Studies Dehradun

Project on Beneficent construction

Submitted To: Prof. Ramesh Kumar Faculty COLS, UPES

Submitted By: Farhan Neguive Roll. No- 48 SAP ID- 500011968


I. Introduction
Interpretation of statutes Rules of interpreting statutes pg 2 pg 2

II. The Beneficent rule also called the Mischief or Haydens rule
Meaning and use History Traditional use of the Beneficent / mischief rule Modern use of the Beneficent Rule / mischief rule Advantages Disadvantages pg 3 pg 4 pg 5 pg 6 pg 6 pg 6 pg 6-7

III Conclusion

Introduction:- Interpretation of statues

In simple understanding legal document are drafted by the professional with the help of legal word to create more value of the document which is not possible for a normal person to be understand without having legal knowledge. So proper understanding of the legal document for normal person quite difficult, in order to short this problem interpretation rules are introduced.

Rules of interpreting statues:(a) Literal rule is a rule used to interpreting statutes. This rule explains what the law is rather than explaining what the law means. When interpreting a statute, the courts generally applies the literal rule first before applying any other rules of interpretation. In literal rule, the words in a statute are given its plain, ordinary, and literal meaning. While applying the literal rule, the law is read word by word and without diverting from its true meaning. (b) The Beneficent Rule or Mischief Rule or Heydons Rule: In this rule four things are to be consider i) What was the common law before the making of the Act. ii) What was the Mischief and defect for which law did not provide. iii) What remedy are available to cure damages. iv) The true reason of the remedy. (c) Rule of Reasonable Construction : Normally the word used in the statute have to be construed in their ordinary, but in many cases judicial approach find that the simple device of adopting the ordinary meaning of words does not meet the ends as a fair and reasonable construction. It became necessary to have regard to the subject matter of the statute. According to this rule, the word of the statute must be construed ut res magis valeat quam pareat, so as to give reasonable meaning to them. (d) Rule of Harmonious Construction: A statute must be read as a whole and one provision of the Act should be construed with reference to other provision in the same Act. so as to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute . Such construction has the merit to avoid inconsistency between a section and other part of the statute. (e) Rule of Ejusdem Generies: According to this rule all the general word contain in the statute may be construed with reference to the antecedent matter and the construction may be narrowed down by treating them as applying to the things of the same kind as those previously mentioned. _________________________________________________________________
1. 2. Norman J. Singer, Sutherland Statutory Construction, 6th Edition, Vol. 1A, 20.12 (West Group 2000) 3. American Jurisprudence 2d, Vol. 73, "Statutes" (West Group 2001) 4.Garner, Bryan A.. Ed. In Chief. (1999). Blacks Law Dictionary (7th ed.). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing. p.602. 5.Einer Elhauge. Statutory Default Rules: How to Interpret Unclear Legislation. Harvard University Press (2008), p. 23739. ISBN 978-0-674-02460-1.

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The Beneficent rule also called the Mischief or Haydens rule

The mischief rule is one of three rules of statutory construction traditionally applied by English courts. The other two are the plain meaning rule (also known as the literal rule and the golden rule.) The main aim of the rule is to determine the "mischief and defect" that the statute in question has set out to remedy, and what ruling would effectively implement this remedy. The rule was first laid out in a 16th century ruling of the Exchequer Court.

Meaning and use

Conway v Rimmer is a rule of construction that judges can apply in statutory interpretation in order to discover Parliament's intention. In applying the rule, the court is essentially asking the question: what was the "mischief" that the previous law did not cover, which Parliament was seeking to remedy when it passed the law now being reviewed by the court? The Mischief Rule is of narrower application than the golden rule or the plain meaning rule, in that it can only be used to interpret a statute and, strictly speaking, only when the statute was passed to remedy a defect in the common law. Legislative intent is determined by examining secondary sources, such as committee reports, treatises, law review articles and corresponding statutes. The application of this rule gives the judge more discretion than the literal and the golden rule as it allows him to effectively decide on Parliament's intent. It can be argued that this undermines Parliament's supremacy and is undemocratic as it takes law-making decisions away from the legislature. The way in which the mischief rule can produce more sensible outcomes than those that would result if the literal rule were applied is illustrated by the ruling in Smith v Hughes [1960] 2 All E.R. 859. Under the Street Offences Act [1959], it was a crime for prostitutes to "loiter or solicit in the street for the purposes of prostitution". The defendants were calling to men in the street from balconies and tapping on windows. They claimed they were not guilty as they were not in the "street." The judge applied the mischief rule to come to the conclusion that they were guilty as the intention of the Act was to cover the mischief of harassment from prostitutes. The construction of a statute must not so strain the words so as include cases plainly omitted from the natural meaning of the language. Where the usual meaning of the words does not convey the object or intention of the legislature, a more extended meaning may be attributed to them. If in a legislation, the general object of which is to benefit a particular class of persons, any provision is ambiguous so that it is capable of two meanings, one of which would preserve the benefit and another would take it away, the meanings, which preserves it, should be adopted. Ordinarily, the rule of beneficent construction has been applied while construing welfare legislations or provisions relating to weaker and stronger contracting parties. Beneficent construction means an interpretation to promote public good and prevent misuse of power. An interpretation, which promotes justice and equity, should be preferred. Although hardship is not a ground for striking down legislation, but whenever possible, statute should be interpreted to avoid possible hardship. Beneficial provisions are added for general betterment in social interest. ___________________________________________________________________
8. 9. Elmer Driedger, Construction of Statutes. Toronto: Butterworths, 1983, p. 3.

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Courts should adopt a constructive approach so as not to exclude such provisions. Rather, the Court should adopt such construction, which advances the policy of the legislation to extend the benefit rather than one, which curtails the benefit. Beneficial statutes should not be construed too restrictively. In case of doubt or two possible views the beneficial legislation is to be interpreted in favour of beneficiaries. The Karnataka High Court referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of All India Reporter Karmachari Sangh v. All India Reporter, 1988 (2) LLN 540 and based its logic on the beneficent rule of interpretation. In this judgement, the Supreme Court observed that "the Act in question is a beneficial legislation which is enacted for the purpose of improving the conditions of service of the employees of the newspaper establishment and hence, if it is possible to have two opinions on the construction of the provision of the Act, the one which advances the object of the Act and is in favour of the employees for whose benefit the Act is passed, has to be accepted. However, lately our Apex Court has completely metamorphosed this yardstick of workeroriented interpretation of industrial law in the case of State of UP v. Jai Bir Singh, 2005 (5) SCCI where it has observed that "exploitation of workers and employees has to be checked. Law and particularly industrial law needs to be so interpreted as to ensure that neither the employers nor the employees are in a position to dominate the other. With due deference to their Lordships of the Karnataka High Court, it is now submitted that the canon of beneficent rule of construction may not be available for aid in interpreting a statute when the language of the provision is clear and unambiguous.

The rule was first set out in Heydon's Case :- Ottery, a religious college, gave a tenancy in a manor also called Ottery to a man (named in the case report simply as "Ware") and his son, also referred to as Ware. The tenancy was established by copyhold, an ancient device for giving a parcel of a manor to a tenant, usually in return for agricultural services, which was something like a long-running lease with special privileges for each party. Ware and his son held their copyhold to have for their lives, subject to the will of the lord and the custom particular to that manor. The Wares copyhold was in a parcel also occupied by some tenants at will. Later, the college then leased the same parcel to another man, named Heydon, for a period of eighty years in return for rents equal to the traditional rent for the components of the parcel. Less than a year after the parcel had been leased to Heydon, Parliament enacted the Act of Dissolution. The statute had the effect of dissolving many religious colleges, including Ottery College, which lost its lands and rents to Henry VIII. However, a provision the Act kept in force, for a term of life, any grants made more than a year prior to the enactment of the statute. ______________________________________________________________________
9. Ibid 10. Elmer Driedger, The Construction of Statutes. Second Edition. Toronto: Butterworths, 1983, p. 74-75. 11. Elmer Driedger, The Construction of Statutes. Second Edition. Toronto: Butterworths, 1983, p. 75

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The Court of Exchequer found that the grant to the Wares was protected by the relevant provision of the Act of Dissolution, but that the lease to Heydon was void. The ruling was based on an important discussion of the relationship of a statute to the preexisting common law. The court concluded that the purpose of the statute was to cure a mischief resulting from a defect in the common law. Therefore, the court concluded, the remedy of the statute was limited to curing that defect. Judges are supposed to construe statutes by seeking the true intent of the makers of the Act, which is presumed to be pro bono publico, or intent for the public good. Lord Coke described the process through which the court must interpret legislation. For the sure and true interpretation of all statutes in general (be they penal or beneficial, restrictive or enlarging of the common law), four things are to be discerned and considered: (1st). What was the common law before the making of the Act?

(2nd). What was the mischief and defect for which the common law did not provide.

(3rd). What remedy the Parliament hath resolved and appointed to cure the disease of the commonwealth. And,

(4th). The true reason of the remedy; and then the office of all the judges is always to make such construction as shall suppress the mischief, and advance the remedy, and to suppress subtle inventions and evasions for continuance of the mischief, and pro privato commodo, and to add force and life to the cure and remedy, according to the true intent of the makers of the Act, pro bono publico

Traditional use of the Beneficent / mischief rule

In the century in which it was created, and for some time thereafter, the mischief rule was used in a legislative environment very different than the one which has prevailed in the past two centuries. As Elmer Driedger notes, Sixteenth-century common law judges looked upon statutes as a gloss upon the common law, even as an intrusion into their domain. Hence, statutes were viewed from the point of view of their effect upon the common law, as adding to it, subtracting from it or patching it up. ________________________________________________________________________
12. 13.

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Then also, in the time of Heydons Case, the judges paid more attention to the spirit of the law than to the letter. Having found the mischief they proceeded to make mischief with the words of the statute. They remodelled the statute, by taking things out and putting things in, in order to fit the mischief and defect as they had found them.

Modern use of the Beneficent Rule / mischief rule

Modern courts continue to apply the rule in a more restricted manner, and generally with a greater regard for the integrity of the statutes which they are interpreting. Driedger puts it this way: To this day, Heydons Case is frequently cited. The courts still look for the mischief and remedy, but now use what they find as aids to discover the meaning of what the legislature has said rather than to change it.[5] Driedger goes on to argue that this modern use of the mischief rule ought to be understood as one of the components of what he characterized as the "modern" method of statutory construction, rather than a stand-alone rule serving (as it formerly had), as an alternative to the methods of construction proposed by the plain meaning rule and the golden rule.

The Law Commission sees it as a far more satisfactory way of interpreting acts as opposed to the Golden or Literal rules. It usually avoids unjust or absurd results in sentencing It abides to parliament sovereignty

It is seen to be out of date as it has been in use since the 16th century, when common law was the primary source of law and parliamentary supremacy was not established. It gives too much power to the unelected judiciary which is argued to be undemocratic. In the 16th century, the judiciary would often draft acts on behalf of the king and were therefore well qualified in what mischief the act was meant to remedy. This is not often the case in modern legal systems. The rule can make the law uncertain, susceptible to the slippery slope.

The relevance of this theory of beneficent rule of interpretation has also become obsolete in view of the fact that the economy of the world as well as India has under-gone a sea change from an era of protectionism to liberalisation, from restricted domestic competition to international competitiveness. It is therefore desirable in the scheme of things that we strike a right balance between economic exigencies and social justice. If the industries are to live and thrive, they must cut cost of production, but such liberal interpretation of provision of a statute would only fasten an additional liability on the employers and would increase their cost of production. It is therefore suggested that purposive rule of construction should be applied in the instant case and that done, the leave encashment amount would definitely fall short of basic wages. The beneficent rule of construction is to be discarded as a broken tool in the instant case. ___________________________________________________________________
Supra 10

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In relation to beneficent construction, the basic rules of interpretation are not to be applied where (i) the result would be re-legislation of a provision by addition, substitution or alteration of words and violence would be done to the spirit of the provision; (ii) where the words of a provision are capable of being given only one meaning; and (iii) where there is no ambiguity in provision where there is a doubt, however, the Court may apply the rule of beneficent construction in order to advance the object of the Act [see Shyam Sunder v. Ram Kumar, (2001) 8 SCC 24; AIR 2001 SC 2472]. We are not unmindful that the golden rule of interpretation of a statute is that it should be read liberally.

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