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Excellence and Service
Christ University
EXTERNAL AIDS OF INTERPRETATION
• Doctrine Of Stare Decisis
• Contemporanea Expositio Est Optima Et Fortissinia In Lege
• Textbooks
THE DOCTRINE OF STARE DECISIS
• It means ‘to abide by things decided.’
• If the Supreme Court passes a judgement and it becomes a precedent, then as per the
doctrine of Stare Decisis, the lower courts must follow such a judgement.
• Following the foundation of British authority in India, the notion of binding
precedent became relevant in India.
• Concept of stare decisis is codified in Article 141 of the Indian Constitution of 1949
• “The law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the
territory of India.”
• Article 141 further states that the ratio decidendi of a case shall be binding and not
the obiter dicta or the facts of the case (still has a persuasive value)
• Subject to judicial discretion and not a hard and fast rule
• Depart on when the previous decision is wrong, or when the rule of law is in danger
or the growth of law could be disturbed
THE DOCTRINE OF STARE DECISIS
Article 141 highlights certain important concepts:
1.All the Indian courts are required and bound by law to follow the Supreme Court’s
ruling and maintain the concept and principle constant;
2.The judgment must be read in its entirety, with the remarks from the judgment being
assessed in light of the issues before the court;
3.Only if a judgment is based on determining or resolving a legal matter may it be
used as a precedent;
4.When a court is divided in determining a matter, the result reached by the judges in
the majority will be cited as a precedent, rather than the one reached by the judges in
minority;
5.Supreme Court’s ex-parte rulings are also legally binding and can be used as
precedents;
6.Special leave petitions are legally binding.
7.The decision of the Supreme Court does not bind itself;
THE DOCTRINE OF STARE DECISIS
Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab
• The trial court held Bachan Singh guilty of the two murder counts that were
brought against him. According to Section 302 of the Indian Criminal Code,
which permits the death penalty in murder cases, he was given a death
sentence.
• Bachan Singh appealed his sentence to the High Court of Punjab and
Haryana, but the sentence was upheld. The case was heard by a five-judge
bench of the Supreme Court, which delivered its decision in 1983. The idea
of “rarest of rare” situations was developed by the court in addition to
upholding the death penalty’s constitutionality as a standard for determining
whether it should be applied.
• The court also commuted Bachan Singh’s sentence to life imprisonment after
reconsidering its own precedent of Jagmohan case.
• Jagmohan's case needs reconsideration by a larger Bench if not by the Full Court.
Reconsideration of Jagmohan, is necessitated because of subsequent events and changes in
law.
• Firstly, it is pointed out that when Jagmohan was decided in 1972, the then extant CrPC,
1898 left the choice between death and life imprisonment as punishment for murder
entirely to the discretion of the Court. This position has since undergone a complete change
and under Section 354(3) of the CrPC, 1973, death sentence has ceased to be the normal
penalty for murder.
• Secondly,. it is argued, the seven-Judge decision of this Court in Maneka Gandhi v. Union
of India has given a new interpretative dimension of the provisions of Articles 21,
19 and 14 and their inter-relationship, and according to this new interpretation every law of
punitive detention both in its procedural and substantive aspects must pass the test of all the
three articles. It is stressed that an argument founded on this expansive interpretation of
these articles was not available when Jagmohan was decided.
• Thirdly, it is submitted that India has, since acceded to the international Covenant of Civil
and Political Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, stand
committed to a policy for abolition of the 'death penalty'.
Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege
• The words used in a statute have undergone alteration in meaning in course of time
• The best way to construe a document is to read it as it would have read when made
• The maxim contemporanea exposito is applicable in construing ancient statutes, but not to
intepreting acts which are comparatively modern.
JK Cotton Spinning and Weaving Mills Ltd and another v Union of India and
Others AIR 1988 SC 191.
The appellant JK Cotton Spinning and weaving Mills Ltd, has a composite mill where it
manufactures fabrics of different types. In order to manufacture the said fabrics, yarn is
obtained at an intermediate stage. The yarn so obtained is further processed in an integrated
process in the composite mill for weaving and the same in to fabrics. The appellants have to
pay the excise duty on the different kinds of fabrics, which are removed from the factory.
Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege
Rule 9. Time and manner of payment of duty.-(1) No excisable goods shall be
removed from any place where they are produced, cured or manufactured or
any premises appurtenant thereto, which may be specified by the Collector in
this behalf whether for consumption, export, or manufacture of any other
commodity in or outside such place, until the excise duty leviable thereon has
been paid at such place and in such manner as is prescribed in these Rules or
as the Collector may require, and except on presentation of an application in
the proper form and on obtaining the permission of the proper officer on the
form
It is to be noticed that by section 51 of the Finance Act, 1982, amendments
made to rules 9 and 49 have been given retrospective effect from the date on
which the Rules came into force
Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege
• Thus it appears that there is a conflict of opinion in the decisions of the Delhi High Court
as to what is meant by the word 'removal' for the purpose of payment of excise duty. Two
views have been expressed by the Delhi High Court.
• One view is that so long as any product manufactured in the factory is not actually
removed from the factory premises, there is no removal and, accordingly, no excise duty is
payable on the product, even if the product is used for the manufacture of another
commodity inside the factory.
• The other view is that if at one stage a commodity known to the market is produced and is
transferred, within the factory for the manufacture of another commodity, there is removal
within the meaning of rules 9 and 49.
• Apart from the above two views, there is a third view which has A also been expressed by
the Delhi High Court, namely, that if an intermediate product is obtained in an integrated
process of manufacture of a commodity, there is no removal and, therefore, such
intermediate product although known to the market and comes under a particular tariff
item yet, as there is no removal, there will be no question of payment of excise duty on
such intermediate product.
Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege
The Collector Central Excise issued a notice under rule 9(1) of the central excse rules to the
appellants demanding to pay central excise on the yarn accumulated at the factory at
intermediate stages.
The appellants contented that they would be held liable to pay central excise only when the
yarn would be removed from factory, but not at intermediate stages, the appellants pleaded
contemporanea exposito.
The supreme court interpreted the central excise rules and gave judgement against the
appellants and dismissed the appeal. The learned counsel relied on support from the decision
in KP Varghese v the Income tax officer, Ernakulam (AIR 1981 SC 1922) for which the court
observed that in the relied case there was ambiguity and a word was capable of two
construction hence the maxim contempranea expositio was applied, but in this case there is
no ambiguity and hence the maxim cannot be imported.
Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege
Limitation of the maxim
a) Useful only in case of ambiguity
b) Custom is given more value and priority than the act of the parties , as elucidated in
optima est legis interpres consuetudo (custom is the best interpreter of the law).
c) Useful only for ancient Acts, and cannot be used for modern Acts.
d) Cannot be applied in case of broken usages and practices
e) Cannot be used to substantiate an implied repeal or quasi repeal of an act.
Not relevant when it comes to application of IPC and partly relevant to Taxation
Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege
Exercise:
The Copyright Act of 1957 was amended to allow for the inclusion of computer-generated
artistic, dramatic, musical, or literary works within its ambit in 1994. As a result, Section
2(d)(v) was added to define "the person who causes the work to be created" as the author of
such "computer-generated works."
To resolve the ambiguous nature of such a term, Section 3(42) of the General Clauses Act of
1897 can be brought in to understand the term "Person" as there is no explanation given
under the Copyright Act to the same. The section claims that "person" shall include any
company or, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not.
Can AI be vested with Authorship under Copyright Act,1957?
TEXTBOOKS AS AN AID OF INTERPRETATION
• The Privy Council in Collector of Madura v. Mootoo Ramalinga Sethupathi, observed:
• According to the established rules in our courts, it is not open to the court to go back to the
old text in order to see whether the interpretations placed on them by the recognised
commentators are correct or not.
• However, for arriving at a true meaning of an enactment, the courts may refer to
textbooks. It lies within the discretion of the courts to accept or reject the meaning given in
the textbook.
• The courts have often quoted from Manu, Jimutvahana, Kautilya, Vigyaneshwar and
Yajnavalkya with approval.
• In the well-known case of Kesavananda Bharati, a large number of textbooks were looked
into. This trend continues.
• This shows that books, treatises and articles are also used as external aid to interpretation.

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IOS PPT.pptx doctrine of stare decisiss

  • 1. Excellence and Service Christ University EXTERNAL AIDS OF INTERPRETATION • Doctrine Of Stare Decisis • Contemporanea Expositio Est Optima Et Fortissinia In Lege • Textbooks
  • 2. THE DOCTRINE OF STARE DECISIS • It means ‘to abide by things decided.’ • If the Supreme Court passes a judgement and it becomes a precedent, then as per the doctrine of Stare Decisis, the lower courts must follow such a judgement. • Following the foundation of British authority in India, the notion of binding precedent became relevant in India. • Concept of stare decisis is codified in Article 141 of the Indian Constitution of 1949 • “The law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India.” • Article 141 further states that the ratio decidendi of a case shall be binding and not the obiter dicta or the facts of the case (still has a persuasive value) • Subject to judicial discretion and not a hard and fast rule • Depart on when the previous decision is wrong, or when the rule of law is in danger or the growth of law could be disturbed
  • 3. THE DOCTRINE OF STARE DECISIS Article 141 highlights certain important concepts: 1.All the Indian courts are required and bound by law to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling and maintain the concept and principle constant; 2.The judgment must be read in its entirety, with the remarks from the judgment being assessed in light of the issues before the court; 3.Only if a judgment is based on determining or resolving a legal matter may it be used as a precedent; 4.When a court is divided in determining a matter, the result reached by the judges in the majority will be cited as a precedent, rather than the one reached by the judges in minority; 5.Supreme Court’s ex-parte rulings are also legally binding and can be used as precedents; 6.Special leave petitions are legally binding. 7.The decision of the Supreme Court does not bind itself;
  • 4. THE DOCTRINE OF STARE DECISIS Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab • The trial court held Bachan Singh guilty of the two murder counts that were brought against him. According to Section 302 of the Indian Criminal Code, which permits the death penalty in murder cases, he was given a death sentence. • Bachan Singh appealed his sentence to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, but the sentence was upheld. The case was heard by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, which delivered its decision in 1983. The idea of “rarest of rare” situations was developed by the court in addition to upholding the death penalty’s constitutionality as a standard for determining whether it should be applied. • The court also commuted Bachan Singh’s sentence to life imprisonment after reconsidering its own precedent of Jagmohan case.
  • 5. • Jagmohan's case needs reconsideration by a larger Bench if not by the Full Court. Reconsideration of Jagmohan, is necessitated because of subsequent events and changes in law. • Firstly, it is pointed out that when Jagmohan was decided in 1972, the then extant CrPC, 1898 left the choice between death and life imprisonment as punishment for murder entirely to the discretion of the Court. This position has since undergone a complete change and under Section 354(3) of the CrPC, 1973, death sentence has ceased to be the normal penalty for murder. • Secondly,. it is argued, the seven-Judge decision of this Court in Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India has given a new interpretative dimension of the provisions of Articles 21, 19 and 14 and their inter-relationship, and according to this new interpretation every law of punitive detention both in its procedural and substantive aspects must pass the test of all the three articles. It is stressed that an argument founded on this expansive interpretation of these articles was not available when Jagmohan was decided. • Thirdly, it is submitted that India has, since acceded to the international Covenant of Civil and Political Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, stand committed to a policy for abolition of the 'death penalty'.
  • 6. Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege • The words used in a statute have undergone alteration in meaning in course of time • The best way to construe a document is to read it as it would have read when made • The maxim contemporanea exposito is applicable in construing ancient statutes, but not to intepreting acts which are comparatively modern. JK Cotton Spinning and Weaving Mills Ltd and another v Union of India and Others AIR 1988 SC 191. The appellant JK Cotton Spinning and weaving Mills Ltd, has a composite mill where it manufactures fabrics of different types. In order to manufacture the said fabrics, yarn is obtained at an intermediate stage. The yarn so obtained is further processed in an integrated process in the composite mill for weaving and the same in to fabrics. The appellants have to pay the excise duty on the different kinds of fabrics, which are removed from the factory.
  • 7. Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege Rule 9. Time and manner of payment of duty.-(1) No excisable goods shall be removed from any place where they are produced, cured or manufactured or any premises appurtenant thereto, which may be specified by the Collector in this behalf whether for consumption, export, or manufacture of any other commodity in or outside such place, until the excise duty leviable thereon has been paid at such place and in such manner as is prescribed in these Rules or as the Collector may require, and except on presentation of an application in the proper form and on obtaining the permission of the proper officer on the form It is to be noticed that by section 51 of the Finance Act, 1982, amendments made to rules 9 and 49 have been given retrospective effect from the date on which the Rules came into force
  • 8. Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege • Thus it appears that there is a conflict of opinion in the decisions of the Delhi High Court as to what is meant by the word 'removal' for the purpose of payment of excise duty. Two views have been expressed by the Delhi High Court. • One view is that so long as any product manufactured in the factory is not actually removed from the factory premises, there is no removal and, accordingly, no excise duty is payable on the product, even if the product is used for the manufacture of another commodity inside the factory. • The other view is that if at one stage a commodity known to the market is produced and is transferred, within the factory for the manufacture of another commodity, there is removal within the meaning of rules 9 and 49. • Apart from the above two views, there is a third view which has A also been expressed by the Delhi High Court, namely, that if an intermediate product is obtained in an integrated process of manufacture of a commodity, there is no removal and, therefore, such intermediate product although known to the market and comes under a particular tariff item yet, as there is no removal, there will be no question of payment of excise duty on such intermediate product.
  • 9. Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege The Collector Central Excise issued a notice under rule 9(1) of the central excse rules to the appellants demanding to pay central excise on the yarn accumulated at the factory at intermediate stages. The appellants contented that they would be held liable to pay central excise only when the yarn would be removed from factory, but not at intermediate stages, the appellants pleaded contemporanea exposito. The supreme court interpreted the central excise rules and gave judgement against the appellants and dismissed the appeal. The learned counsel relied on support from the decision in KP Varghese v the Income tax officer, Ernakulam (AIR 1981 SC 1922) for which the court observed that in the relied case there was ambiguity and a word was capable of two construction hence the maxim contempranea expositio was applied, but in this case there is no ambiguity and hence the maxim cannot be imported.
  • 10. Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege Limitation of the maxim a) Useful only in case of ambiguity b) Custom is given more value and priority than the act of the parties , as elucidated in optima est legis interpres consuetudo (custom is the best interpreter of the law). c) Useful only for ancient Acts, and cannot be used for modern Acts. d) Cannot be applied in case of broken usages and practices e) Cannot be used to substantiate an implied repeal or quasi repeal of an act. Not relevant when it comes to application of IPC and partly relevant to Taxation
  • 11. Contemporanea expositio est optima et fortissinia in lege Exercise: The Copyright Act of 1957 was amended to allow for the inclusion of computer-generated artistic, dramatic, musical, or literary works within its ambit in 1994. As a result, Section 2(d)(v) was added to define "the person who causes the work to be created" as the author of such "computer-generated works." To resolve the ambiguous nature of such a term, Section 3(42) of the General Clauses Act of 1897 can be brought in to understand the term "Person" as there is no explanation given under the Copyright Act to the same. The section claims that "person" shall include any company or, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not. Can AI be vested with Authorship under Copyright Act,1957?
  • 12. TEXTBOOKS AS AN AID OF INTERPRETATION • The Privy Council in Collector of Madura v. Mootoo Ramalinga Sethupathi, observed: • According to the established rules in our courts, it is not open to the court to go back to the old text in order to see whether the interpretations placed on them by the recognised commentators are correct or not. • However, for arriving at a true meaning of an enactment, the courts may refer to textbooks. It lies within the discretion of the courts to accept or reject the meaning given in the textbook. • The courts have often quoted from Manu, Jimutvahana, Kautilya, Vigyaneshwar and Yajnavalkya with approval. • In the well-known case of Kesavananda Bharati, a large number of textbooks were looked into. This trend continues. • This shows that books, treatises and articles are also used as external aid to interpretation.