Backdrop of Dominant Purpose I

Philips India Limited v. Labour Court, Madras, (1985) 3 SCC 103; Balasinor Nagrik Cooperative Bank Limited v. Babubhai Shankerlal Pandya, (1987) 1 SCC 606; Mohan Kumar Singhania v. Union of India, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 594; Sultana Begum v. Prem Chand Jain, (1997) 1 SCC 373; Jagdish Singh v. Lt. Governor, Delhi, (1997) 4 SCC 435; Commissioner of Income Tax v. Hindustan Bulk Carriers, (2003) 3 SCC 57.


The statute must be read as a whole. This rule of statutory construction is so firmly established, it is variously styled as ‘elementary rule’ [Attorney General v. Bastow, (1957) 1 All ER 497] and as a ‘settled rule’ [Poppatlal Shah v. State of Madras, AIR 1953 SC 274]. The only recognized exception to this well-­laid principle is, it cannot be called in aid to alter the meaning of what is itself clear and explicit.

It is the duty of Court to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute. It is the duty of Court to avoid a head­-on clash and construe the provisions which appear to be in conflict with each other in such a manner so as to harmonize them. It is settled, while interpreting a particular statutory provision, it should not result into making the other provision a ‘useless lumber’ or a ‘dead letter’. While construing the provisions, Court will have to ascertain intention in the backdrop of dominant purpose and underlying intendment of the statute.

Hon’ble Justice B.R. Gavai, Sanjay Ramdas Patil v. Sanjay, [Civil Appeal No. 5060 of 2021].