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Doctrine of Harmonious Construction

In this article we will discuss Doctrine of Harmonious Construction

In this article, we will discuss Doctrine of Harmonious Construction. So, let’s get started.

Doctrine of Harmonious Construction

  • About:
  • The term harmonious construction refers to such construction by which harmony or oneness amongst various provisions of an enactment is arrived at.
  • When the words of statutory provision bear more than one meaning and there is a doubt as to which meaning should prevail, their interpretation should be in a way that each has a separate effect and neither is redundant or nullified.
  • Origin:
  • The Doctrine of Harmonious construction originated through interpretations given by courts in a number of cases.
  • The evolution of the doctrine can be traced back to the very first amendment made in the Constitution of India with the landmark judgment of Shankari Prasad v. Union of India.
  • Principles of rule of Harmonious construction:
  • In the landmark case of CIT v. Hindustan Bulk Carriers (2003) the supreme court laid down five principles of rule of harmonious construction:
  • The courts must avoid a head-on clash of seemingly contradicting provisions and they must construe the contradictory provisions.
  • The provision of one section cannot be used to defeat the provision contained in another unless the court, despite all its efforts, is unable to find a way to reconcile their differences
  • When it is impossible to completely reconcile the differences in contradictory provisions, the courts must interpret them in such a way so that effect is given to both the provisions as much as possible.
  • Courts must also keep in mind that interpretation that reduces one provision to useless number or death is not harmonious construction.
  • To harmonize is not to destroy any statutory provision or to render it fruitless.

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