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2. LLB


Reference books : As suggested by the University of Pune in their syllabus.

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I. Introduction

II. Liberal Construction of Remedial Statutes

III. When two interpretations are possible

IV. Welfare Legislations

V. Retrospective construction

VI. Distinction between Remedial Statutes and Penal Statutes.

I. Introduction

Remedial statutes are enacted with the purpose of introducing social reform by improving the conditions of certain class of persons who might not have been fairly treated in the past. [Regl. Provident Fund Commr. v. Hoogly Mills Co. Ltd. (2012)]

Central Railway Workshop v. Vishwanath (1969)

In this case it was observed that it is probably true that all legislation in a welfare state is enacted with the object of promoting general welfare, but certain types of enactments are more responsive to some urgent social demands and also have more immediate and visible impact on social vices by operating more directly to achieve social reforms. Such legislations prohibit certain acts by declaring them invalid, and at the same time, they provide for redress or compensation to the person aggrieved by such acts. This means that such statutes do not impose penalty on the offender but merely provide for redressal to the injured party. Such legislation can be classed as remedial statutes.

II. Liberal Construction of Remedial Statutes

In constructing a remedial statute, it should be given the widest operation its language would permit. The court should construe the phraseology of the statute so as to give the most complete remedy intended by the statute and so that the purpose of the legislation may be allowed to be achieved rather than frustrated. [International Ore & Fertilizers (India) (P) Ltd. v. ESI Corpn. (1987)]

Where the legislation is designed to give relief against certain kinds of mischief, the court is not to make inroads by making etymological excursions. [Rajesh Burman v. Mitul Chatterjee (2009)]

The court should be more concerned with the colour, the content and the context of the statute rather than with its literal import [ Workmen v. American Express International Banking Corporation (1985)] and should have due regard to the Directive Principles of State Policy. [B. Shah v. Presiding Officer, Labour Court (1977)]

Arnit Das v. State of Bihar (2000)

Section 2 (e), Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, defines delinquent juvenile and 2 (h) defines juvenile. Section 2 (e), Juvenile Justice ( Care and Protection of Children Act, 2000 ) defines juvenile in conflict with law. The whole object of the Acts is to provide for the care, protection protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of neglected and delinquent juveniles. Those Acts are to discharge these obligations and follow the UN Minimum Rules known as Beijing Rules. Thus the act being remedial in nature, its provisions should be given liberal construction to promote this object.

The interpretation should be placed on provisions in such a way that the purpose of the legislation may be allowed to be achieved rather than frustrated or stultified. [International Ore & Fertilizers (India) (P) Ltd. v. ESI Corpn. (1987)]

III. When two interpretations are possible

If a section or provision in a remedial statute is capable of two interpretations, then one which furthers the policy and object of the act and which is more beneficial to the employees should be given effect to. In case of doubt, the court may construe a provision narrowly so as not to unduly expand the scope of the area of exception. [Sk. Gulfan v. Sanat Kumar Ganguli (1965)]

However, if the provisions are capable of only one meaning, plain meaning thereof should be given effect to. [Colour-Chem Ltd. v. A.L. Alaspurkar (1998)]

IV. Welfare Legislations

In case of social benefit oriented legislation, that is, social welfare legislation, for example, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, its provisions should be construed as broadly as possible in consumers favour to obtain the purpose of the enactment. However, it has to be remembered that in doing so, no violence to the language is permitted. [State of Karnataka v. Vishwabharathi House Building Coop. Society (2003)]

V. Retrospective construction

Presumption against retrospective construction is applied with less insistence in the case of welfare legislations and remedial statutes. A remedial Act is not necessarily retrospective. The effect of a beneficial legislation is not construed to be defeated by a subsequent legislation except through a clear provision. [Noor Saba Khatoon v. Mohd. Quasim (1997)]

VI. Distinction between Remedial Statutes and Penal Statutes.

1. Remedial statutes deal with the wrong against an individual while penal statutes deal with the wrongs against the state.

2. Remedial statutes deal with those matters which affect the individual only while penal statutes deal with those matters which affect the whole community.

3. Remedial statutes provide remedy for infringement of private civil rights of individuals while penal statutes provide punishment for public wrongs.

4. Remedial statutes deal with such wrongful acts for which remedy is civil action while penal statutes deal with such wrongful acts, the commission of which attracts punitive action.

5. The remedy for wrongful acts is in the form of damages or compensation to aggrieved party but the wrong doer is not held liable for any penalty. While in penal statutes penalty such as imprisonment, fine, forfeiture etc. is imposed on the offender.

6. Duty is fixed by the party in remedial statutes. While duty is fixed by the state in penal statutes.

7. Injured party takes action in remedial statutes while state takes action and state is prosecuting agency in penal statutes.

8. Proof of negligence is sufficient in remedial statutes while in penal statutes negligence along with criminal intention must be proved to constitute an offence or crime.

9. Remedial statutes are also known as welfare, beneficial or social justice oriented legislation.

10. Remedial statutes are enforced by law when suit is filed by aggrieved person in Civil Court or in the Tribunal. In case of violation of penal law state initiates the action against the criminal in criminal courts.

11. Remedial statutes received liberal or beneficial construction. The penal statutes are strictly construed.

12. In remedial statutes the doubt is resolved in favour of class of persons for whose benefit the statute is enacted while in penal statutes the doubt is resolved in favour of the alleged offender.


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