A “Means and Includes” Definition VII

In Dilworth v. Commissioner of Stamps, (1899) AC 99 Privy Council, dealing with a definition which incorporated the word ‘include’, said, “The word ‘include’ is very generally used in interpretation clauses in order to enlarge the meaning of words or phrases occurring in the body of the statute; and when it is so used these words or phrases must be construed as comprehending, not only such things as they signify according to their natural import, but also those things which the interpretation clause declares that they shall include. But the word ‘include’ is susceptible of another construction, which may become imperative, if the context of the Act is sufficient to shew that it was not merely employed for the purpose of adding to the natural significance of the words or expressions defined. It may be equivalent to ‘mean and include’, and in that case it may afford an exhaustive explanation of the meaning which, for the purposes of the Act, must invariably be attached to these words or expressions.”

Of course, depending on the context in which the word ‘includes’ may have been used, and the objects and the scheme of the enactment as a whole, the expression ‘includes’ may have to be construed as restrictive and exhaustive.

Anuj Jain, Interim Resolution Professional, Jaypee Infratech Ltd. v. Axis Bank Ltd., (2020) 8 SCC 401 referred to various precedents on restrictive and expansive interpretation of words and phrases used in a statute, particularly, the words “means and includes”.

Hon’ble Justice Indira Banerjee, M/s. Orator Marketing Pvt. Ltd. v. M/s. Samtex Desinz Pvt. Ltd., [Civil Appeal No. 2231 of 2021].