‘Settled’ Principles of Interpretation

Hon’ble Justice Nariman has the penchant for stating what is ‘settled’. Sitting Judges have something to learn from the confidence of his authorship.

It is well settled that the provisions of a statute must be read harmoniously together.”

However, if this is not possible then it is settled law that where there is a conflict between two sections, and you cannot reconcile the two, you have to determine which is the leading provision and which the subordinate provision, and which must give way to the other.”

It is settled law that a proviso does not travel beyond the provision to which it is a proviso. Therefore, the golden rule is to read the whole section, inclusive of the proviso, in such manner that they mutually throw light on each other and result in a harmonious construction.”

It is a settled rule of construction that a proviso must prima facie be read and considered in relation to the principal matter to which it is a proviso. It is not a separate or independent enactment.”

It is settled law that discrimination cannot be viewed in the abstract – the Doctrine of Classification is an important adjunct to the Doctrine of Discrimination. It is clear, therefore, that if there is an intelligible differentia having a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved, a provision will not be held to be discriminatory.

Hon’ble Justice R.F. NarimanUnion of India v. Dileep Kumar Singh, [Civil Appeal Nos. 2466-2467 of 2015].