Today’s compilation gives a sneak peak on the Judgments for Natural Meaning of “or” AND “and’. Further when can the words “or” AND “and” can be read interchangeably while interpretation a provision.
Natural Meaning of “or”– Supreme Court of India Sri Jeyaram Educational Trust & … vs A.G.Syed Mohideen & Ors on 22 January, 2010 (SC)
Therefore, word “or” is used in the ordinary and normal sense, that is to denote an alternative, giving a choice.
Natural meaning of “and”– M/S Hyderabad Asbestos Cement … vs Union Of India & Ors on 7 December, 1999 (SC)
Proviso (i) and (ii) are separated by the use of conjunction `and’. They have to be read conjointly. The requirement of both the provisos has to be satisfied to avail the benefit. Clauses (a) and (b) of proviso (ii) are separated by the use of `or’ and there the availability of one of the two alternatives would suffice.
How use of “or” AND “and” differ– Union Of India & Ors vs Rabinder Singh on 29 September, 2011 (SC)
We accept the submission of Shri Tripathi that the two parts of Section 52 (f) are disjunctive, which can also be seen from the fact that there is a comma and the conjunction `or’ between the two parts of this sub-section, viz (i) does any other thing with intend to defraud and (ii) to cause wrongful gain to one person or wrongful loss to another person. If the legislature wanted both these parts to be read together, it would have used the conjunction `and’
When “or” can be read as “and when “and” can be read as “or”-
National Insurance Co. Ltd. vs Mary Janet And Ors. on 23 July, 1998 Equivalent citations: 1999 ACJ 736
In Green v. Premier Glynrhonwy Slate Co. Ltd. 1928 (1) KB 561, Scrutton, LJ. said that the word ‘or’ should not be read as ‘and’ unless you are obliged because ‘or’ does not generally mean ‘and’ and ‘and’ does not generally mean ‘or’.
In State of Bombay v. R.M.D. Chamarbauqwala AIR 1957 SC 699, the Supreme Court read ‘or’ as ‘and’ to give effect to the clear intention of the legislature as expressed in the Bombay Lotteries and Prize Competitions Control and Tax Act.
M.S. Menon, J. (as the learned Judge then was) in Travancore Forward Bank Ltd. v. State of Kerala 1958 KLT 537, observed:
When the word ‘or’ is used in relation to two or more alternatives, it is not necessarily the case that the alternatives are mutually exclusive. The question as to whether they are mutually exclusive or not must be determined by applying the general rule that words should be construed to ascertain the intention of the provision in question to be collected from the whole of its terms.
Indore Development Authority vs Manoharlal And Ors. Etc. on 6 March, 2020-Whether the word “or” in Section 24(2) of the Act of 2013 used in between possession has not been taken or compensation has not been paid to be read as “and”?
24. Land acquisition process under Act No. 1 of 1984 shall be deemed to have lapsed in certain cases.
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, in any case of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894,–
(a) where no award under section 11 of the said Land Acquisition Act has been made, then, all provisions of this Act relating to the determination of compensation shall apply; or
(b) where an award under said section 11 has been made, then such proceedings shall continue under the provisions of the said Land Acquisition Act, as if the said Act has not been repealed.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), in case of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1 of 1894), where an award under the said section 11 has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of this Act but the physical possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid the said proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed and the appropriate Government, if it so chooses, shall initiate the proceedings of such land acquisition afresh in accordance with the provisions of this Act:
Provided that where an award has been made and compensation in respect of a majority of land holdings has not been deposited in the account of the beneficiaries, then, all beneficiaries specified in the notification for acquisition under section 4 of the said Land Acquisition Act, shall be entitled to compensation in accordance with the provisions of this Act.”
When we read the word “or” as ‘and’ in the main part of section 24(2), it is clear that the proviso has to stay as part of section 24(2) where it has been placed by the legislature, and only then it makes sense. If ‘or’ used in-between two negative conditions of ‘possession has not been taken’ or ‘compensation has not been paid,’ disjunctively, in that case, the proviso cannot be operative and would become otiose and would make no sense as part of Section 24(2). In case of amount not having been paid the acquisition has to lapse, though possession (of the land) has been taken would not be the proper interpretation of the main part as mentioned (2018) 14 SCC 161 above, when “or” is read conjunctively, section 24(2) provided for lapse in a case where possession has not been taken, nor compensation has been paid, in such a case proviso becomes operative in given exigency of not depositing amount with respect to majority of landholdings.