Statutory interpretation is method of deciding judgments by the judges. Interpretation makes us understand that Act of Parliament is not easy to be understood but on the other hand, the definition of statutes have had very specific words but there arises some doubts for which the judges would always require the statutory interpretation for their assistance. Due to this reason there are some specific words in the statute that contains ambiguity and vagueness in it. Each word have different meanings, we can look in the Dictionary where a word would contain more than one meaning. Therefore, the statutory interpretation reduces the trouble in deciding the judgments in a case.
1. Traditional Rules:
In developing the interpretation of any statues, any judges have to follow the traditional rules as their guidelines in determining the meaning of the Act of Parliament.
a. Literal Rule:
The literal rule is the first rule that started and also can be considered as the least problematic method in interpretation. The literal rule actually required the judges to consider what the legislation actually says than it rather meaning. In the context of legislation, judges would have to consider their literal meaning that it are in plain, ordinary, everyday meaning. However, the judges can’t adjust the meaning of the statues to achieve the court’s view that they consider as acceptable result. The main advantage of the literal rule is that it fits easily in the constitutional principle without causing any much of problems. It is able to be criticizing that, all the interpretation would not be interpreted in phrases or sentences instead it would be interpreted in isolated words. We can also say that the literal rule that has an ordinary meaning would assist in drawing a clear difference between the common and technical words in statues and this also involves in the maturity in the judges. If technical meaning of word is involved then it will be difficult to obtain the ordinary meaning.
b. Golden Rule:
Golden rule comes to the second. The golden rule is only be used if the judges apply the literal rule and finds absurdity and then the judges would have to use the golden rule. Before proceeding to the golden rule the judges must determine the genuine difficulties of statute. In golden rule, we would able to find there are two versions of golden rule.
• Narrow Meaning:
It is used only where there are two actual opposing meaning.
• Wider Meaning:
It is used when there is only one possible meaning to a provision. And this helps in avoiding silliness or distasteful result.
The golden rule reduces the loopholes in the law. On the other hand, this also assists the judges to extend their creative thoughts and then the judges can alter the meaning of the statutes anytime.
c. Mischief Rule:
Mischief rule is the last rule. It is used when both literal rule and golden rule could not help in solving the judge’s problem. It is known as the most elastic rule and it is established in the Haydon’s case. After literal and golden rule, mischief rule would only be applied if there is still ambiguity. The scope of the rule is that it allows judges to decide between the diverse meanings of the statutory language or infer into the statute a small quantity of words. It is a flexible rule where it could be adjust in many kind of cases. However, this rule also contains many drawbacks. This rule would not directly help the judge to create the law.
This approach advocates that the Courts are required to decide the purpose and that purpose is followed by a particular word or phrase used in the statute. ‘Following are the dissimilarities between Purpose and intention:
‘What the legislature meant’ or ‘the specific understanding in mind of the legislature.’
‘What the legislature ultimately sought to accomplish’
3. New Textualism (Narrowing Intentionalism):
• In certain circumstances, Both intentionalism and Purposivism are not enough to determine the meanings of the words and phrases in the same way as intended by purpose or by the legislature.
• In such circumstances, a new approach has developed in arena of Agency Model, which is known as New-Textualism.
• According to this theory, if the meaning of the words and phrases are being vague, in process intentionalism, then the Court must adhere to the strict and natural meaning of the words and phrases used in the text of the legislation and must not try to develop any meaning in accordance with the intention of the legislature.
SOURCES OF INTERPRETATION IN PAKISTAN:
Interpretation is a process and must be regulated by certain rules and principles. In Pakistan, while interpreting statutes, the Courts must take help of the following sources:
A. Interpretive Clause:
Almost in all statutes there is a Definition/Interpretive Clause which is defining the terms and phrases used in that Statute. Therefore, the first step is that, the court will interpret meanings of the words and phrases of the defined Statute.
b. General Clauses Act, 1887:
Pakistan is having an Interpretation Act, which is General Clauses Act, 1887 and it defines a list of words and phrases usually known to Pakistan Legal System. Furthermore, it is also having certain rules of interpretation in certain circumstances. consequently; the Courts will see Pakistan interpretation Act for further interpretation.
c. Rules and Principles of Interpretation:
Beside the above mentioned sources, there are certain set of laws and principles of interpretation developed in Pakistan. Thus, the Court must accept in mind these rules and principles of interpretation while interpreting a statute.
OBJECTS OF INTERPRETATION:
Following are the two objects of interpretation:
1. Determination of Meanings:
• It has already been discussed that statutes are formed from language and language is consisting on words and phrases. While, the words are having multiple meanings and connotations.
• Thus, the earliest duty of the Courts is to decide the meanings of different words and phrases used in statute.
2. Finding the Intention of the Legislature:
As we know that legislation is the task of the legislature and the Courts cannot assume that position while interpreting. Hence, while determining the meanings of the words and phrases during interpretation, the Court must find out the intention of the legislature, and in accordance with this intention it shall assign the meaning to the words and phrases used in the Statutes.
It is concluded that, even though, there are many set of laws in the statutory interpretation but not any of it help in decreasing the difficulty. There is constantly injustice even if the rules are being followed. Because of this the judges are developing there creative thinking by following the rules. How can we measure the weight of justice in any law? Where the difficulty appears at the first step of the statutory interpretation? Thus, no matter how many rules are originated to reduce the troubles mentioned above, there is not a single way to resolve the matter.