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The Doctrine of Harmonious Construction by Mayurakshi Sarkar at Lexcliq

 The Doctrine of Harmonious Construction by Mayurakshi Sarkar at Lexcliq

Definition

An enactment's "harmonious construction" refers to the process by which the numerous provisions are brought into harmony or oneness with one another. When a legislative provision's terms have more than one interpretation and it's unclear which one should take precedence, the meaning that best fits the words and the topic of the enactment should be used. Legislators are considered to have enacted certain laws for a specific goal. Legislators are considered to have used exact language to open their minds and ensure that the enactment's wording is clear. All of the statute's sections are presumed to be well-written and compatible with each other because the legislature is not supposed to contradict itself by enacting contradictory legislation. As a result, the law must be read carefully to ensure that it does not offend anyone Inconsistencies should not be intentionally introduced or inferred from their absence. All alternative constructions should be allowed, and those that lead to inconsistency should be discarded, if they are all possible. Legislators want all of their laws to remain in effect. Contrary to the established concept of ut res magis valeat qauam pereat, where two clauses are in conflict, it may not be possible for both to be implemented and one will be rendered futile.

A construction in which the present discrepancy is eliminated and both clauses continue in effect, harmoniously, should be allowed to prevail. It harmonises the multiple schedule 7 lists in the Indian constitution. One of the most important rules in statutory interpretation is that if two provisions of a single statute are in conflict, they should be interpreted in such a way that both may be given effect, and a construction that renders one of them ineffective and worthless can only be used as a last choice.

Objectives

Consistent construction is a process that seeks to eliminate any conflict between the statute's two enacting clauses and to interpret those clauses in such a way that they accord with each other. This rule is based on the premise that the Legislature will never intend to include two sections in a statute that are mutually exclusive since doing so would be unconstitutional. When interpreting a piece of legislation, we can't just say one thing then reject it the next. If an error is discovered, it should be seen as inadvertent and remedied through the use of harmonious design.

Principles

  • To prevent a head-on conflict between sections that appear to be at odds with one another, the courts must construe the clauses that appear to be at odds, as the Supreme Court did in CIT v. Hindustan Bulk Carriers (2003).

  • There can be no way for a court to override the impact of a section's provision without the court being unable to resolve the discrepancies between the sections' provisions, thus courts must interpret the provisions in a way that gives effect to both sections as much as practicable.

  • Courts must also remember that a harmonic construction is not one that reduces a provision to a worthless number or to the dead.

  • To harmonise does not mean to obliterate any law provision or to make it meaningless.

Case Laws

  1. East India hotels ltd. V. Union of India (2001) - It was held that an Act is to be read as a whole, the different provisions have to be harmonized and the effect to be given to all of them.


  1. Qureshi v. State of Bihar- In this case supreme court held that the state should implement directive principle in a way so as that it will not interfere fundamental right.


  1. Bhatia international v. bulk trading (2003) - It was held that if more than one interpretation is possible for a statute than the court has to choose the interpretation which shows the intention of the legislature.

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