Interpretation of Bracketed Portion in Statue-Nahalchand Laloochand P.Ltd vs Panchali Co-Op.Hng.Sty.Ltd on 31 August, 2010
The scope of the bracketed phrase has to be seen in the context of the definition given to the word `flat’ which is true indication of intent of the legislature. It was suggested by learned senior counsel and counsel for the promoters that the phrase `and includes a garage’ must be read with the `set of premises’ and not with the user. This does not appear to be a correct reading of the expression. We are not persuaded to accept such construction. We think that statutory definition of `flat’ must be construed keeping in view the intent of the legislature and the context of the statute and, seen thus, the phrase, `and includes a garage’ in the bracket does not bring in `garage’ by itself within the meaning of word `flat’. If stand alone `garage’ (or a garage by itself) were intended by the legislature to be a `flat’ within the meaning of Section 2(a-1), that could have been conveniently conveyed by use of the expression `or garage’ after the word `business’ in the same breath as preceding uses. The bracketed phrase is rather indicative of the legislative intention to include a `garage’ as appurtenant or attachment to a flat which satisfies the ingredients of Section 2(a-1).
Wide Meaning of Definition may be restricted to bring it inline with the context of the Statute-State 0F Bombay & Others vs The Hospital Mazdoor Sabha & … on 29 January, 1960
It is clear, however, that though s. 2(j) uses words of very wide denotation, a line would have to be drawn in a fair and just manner so as to exclude some callings, services or undertakings. If all the words used are given their widest meaning, all services and all callings would come within the purview of the definition; even service rendered by a servant purely in a personal or domestic matter or even in a casual way would fall within the definition. It is not and cannot be suggested that in its wide sweep the word “service” is intended to include service howsoever rendered in whatsoever capacity and for whatsoever reason.
All definitions in statutes generally begin with qualifying words, “unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context”–The Vanguard Fire And … vs M/S. Fraser And Ross And Another on 4 May, 1960 Equivalent citations: 1960 AIR 971
But s. 2 begins with the words ” in this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context ” and then come the various definition clauses of which (9) is one. It is well settled that all statutory definitions or abbreviations must be read subject to the qualification variously expressed in the definition clauses which created them and it may be that even where the definition is exhaustive inasmuch as the word defined is said to mean a certain thing, it is possible for the word to have a somewhat different meaning in different sections of the Act depending upon the subject or the context. That is why all definitions in statutes generally begin with the qualifying words similar to the words used in the present case, namely, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context. Therefore in finding out the meaning of the word ” insurer ” in various sections of the Act, the meaning to be ordinarily given to it is that given in the definition clause. But this is not inflexible and there may be sections in the Act where the meaning may have to be departed from on account of the subject or context in which the word has been used and that will be giving effect to the opening sentence in the definition section, namely, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context. In view of this qualification, the court has not only to look at the words but also to look at the context, the collocation and the object of such words relating to such matter and interpret the meaning intended to be conveyed by the use of the words under the circumstances. Therefore, though ordinarily the word ” insurer ” as used in the Act would mean a person or body corporate actually carrying on the business of insurance it may be that in certain sections the word may have a somewhat different meaning.
A perusal of a few sections of the Act will illustrate this and immediately show that the word ” insurer ” has been used in some sections to mean not merely a person actually carrying on the business of insurance but also a person who intends to carry on the business of insurance but has not actually started it and also a person who was carrying on the business of insurance but has ceased to do so.
Even the Word “means” in Definition Clause would be subject to unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context- National Insurance Co.Ltd. & Anr vs Kirpal Singh (SC)
We are mindful of the fact that the word ‘means’ used in statutory definitions generally implies that the definition is exhaustive. But that general rule of interpretation is not without an exception. An equally well-settled principle of interpretation is that the use of the word ‘means’ in a statutory definition notwithstanding the context in which the expression is defined cannot be ignored in any forensic exercise meant to discover the real purport of an expression.
Lord Denning’s observations in Hotel and Catering Industry Training Board v. Automobile Proprietary Ltd. (1968) 1 W.L.R. 1526 are, in this regard, apposite when he said:
“It is true that ‘the industry’ is defined; but a definition is not to be read in isolation. It must be read in the context of the phrase which it defines, realising that the function of a definition is to give precision and certainty to a word or phrase which would otherwise be vague and uncertain-but not to contradict it or supplant it altogether”
The Vanguard Fire & General Insurance Co. Ltd. Madras v. Fraser & Ross & Anr. AIR 1960 SC 971-Statutory definitions or abbreviations must be read subject to the qualification variously expressed in the definition clauses which created them and it may be that even where the definition is exhaustive inasmuch as the word defined is said to mean a certain thing, it is possible for the word to have a somewhat different meaning in different sections of the Act depending upon the subject or the context. That is why all definitions in statutes generally begin with the qualifying words “unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context”.
Paul Enterprises & Ors. v. Rajib Chatterjee and Co. & Ors. (2009) 3 SCC 709- Interpretation clause should be given a contextual meaning and that all statutory definitions must be read subject to the qualification variously expressed in the interpretation clause, which created them.
State of Maharashtra & Anr. v. B.E. Billimoria & Ors. (2003) 7 SCC 336-Meaning of an expression must be determined in the context in which the same has been used.
K.V. Muthu v. Angamuthu Ammal (1997) 2 SCC 53-Apparently, it appears that the definition is conclusive as the word “means” has been used to specify the members, namely, spouse, son, daughter, grand-child or dependent parent, who would constitute the family. Section 2 of the Act in which various terms have been defined, open with the words “in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires” which indicates that the definitions, as for example, that of “Family”, which are indicated to be conclusive may not be treated to be conclusive if it was otherwise required by the context. This implies that a definition, like any other word in a statute, has to be read in the light of the context and scheme of the Act as also the object for which the Act was made by the Legislature.