A division bench of Apex Court held as follows:
State of Jharkhand and Anr Vs Govind Singh on 3 Dec 2004
10. When the words of a statute are clear, plain or unambiguous i.e they are reasonably susceptible to only one meaning, the courts are bound to give effect to that meaning irrespective of consequences. The intention of the legislature is primarily to be gathered from the language used, which means that attention should be paid to what has been said as also to what has not been said. (See J.P Bansal v. State of Rajasthan 2003 5 SCC 134.)
11. As a consequence, a construction which requires for its support addition or substitution of words or which results in rejection of words as meaningless has to be avoided. As was noted by the Privy Council in Crawford v. Spooner 1846 6 Moo PC 1:
“We cannot aid the legislature’s defective phrasing of an Act, we cannot add or mend and, by construction make up deficiencies which are left there.”
The view was reiterated by this Court in State of M.P v. G.S Dall and Flour Mills AIR 1991 SC 772 and State of Gujarat v. Dilipbhai Nathjibhai Patel JT 1998 2 SC 253. Speaking briefly, the court cannot reframe the legislation, as noted in J.P Bansal case for the very good reason that it has no power to legislate.
12. It is said that a statute is an edict of the legislature. The elementary principle of interpreting or construing a statute is to gather the mens or sententia legis of the legislature.
13. Interpretation postulates the search for the true meaning of the words used in the statute as a medium of expression to communicate a particular thought. The task is not easy as the “language” is often misunderstood even in ordinary conversation or correspondence. The tragedy is that although in the matter of correspondence or conversation the person who has spoken the words or used the language can be approached for clarification, the legislature cannot be approached as the legislature, after enacting a law or Act, becomes functus officio so far as that particular Act is concerned and it cannot itself interpret it. No doubt, the legislature retains the power to amend or repeal the law so made and can also declare its meaning, but that can be done only by making another law or statute after undertaking the whole process of law-making.
Citations : [2005 SCC CRI 1570], [2004 SCALE 10 174], [2005 CRIMES SC 1 49], [2005 AIR SC 294], [2005 SUPREME 1 477], [2005 SCC 10 437], [2004 JT SC 10 349]
Other Sources :