General principles of statutory interpretation with special reference to golden rule & mischief rule
Shrikant P Thombre
Legislature makes the law and court interprets it at the time of delivering justice. Interpretation is the primary function of a court. Whenever dispute comes before the court and there is a ambiguity about the true meaning of the law, court interprets the law. Interpretation means giving best single meaning of the words or phrases used in the law, The Golden Rule was defined by Lord Wens leydale in the Grey v Pearson case (1857) as: “The grammatical and ordinary sense of the words is to be adhered to unless that would lead to some absurdity or some repugnance or inconsistency with the rest of the instrument in which case the grammatical and ordinary sense of the words may be modified so as to avoid the absurdity and inconsistency, but no farther.” The Mischief Rule gives the most discretion to judges and is suited to specific, often ambiguous cases. The rule allows statutes to be refined and developed. However, the increased role of the judge means that his views and prejudices can influence the final decision. The rule is intended to rectify ‘MISCHIEF’ in the statute and interpret the statute justly. The mischief Rule uses common law to determine how the statute is interpreted.