May & Shall II

It is to be considered whether the word ‘shall’ used in Section 12 of The Disaster Management Act, 2005 is required to be interpreted and considered as ‘shall’ or ‘may’ and whether it is ‘mandatory’ or ‘directory/discretionary’. The word ‘shall’ is used twice.

Cases are not wanting where the words ‘may’, ‘shall’ and ‘must’ are used interchangeably. The intent of Legislature should be looked into along with pertinent circumstances [Bachahan Devi v. Nagar Nigam, Gorakhpur, (2008) 12 SCC 372].  

To construe the word ‘shall’ as ‘may’ and as directory/discretionary, the very object and purpose will be defeated. The word ‘shall’ used twice in Section 12 significantly imposes a duty cast upon National Authority to issue guidelines for minimum standards of relief.

Hon’ble Justice M.R. Shah, Reepak Kansal v. Union of India, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 554 of 2021].