Abhinav Palsikar, ‘Critical Analysis of Literal Rule of Interpretation’

The Literal Rule of Interpretation is the oldest rule and is followed to date by the Judges across the globe. The rationale behind the Literal Rule is that it prevents courts from making biased decisions when the issue is relating to political matters. This rule also restricts the Courts from creating new laws through the interpretation of the existing ones. This rule follows the words of the Legislature and implication of this rule brings certainty in interpretation as the law would be interpreted exactly as it is provided by the Legislature. As every coin has two sides, there are some disadvantages of applying the Literal Rule of Interpretation. This at times results in the provisions being vague and absurd and inconsistent with the intention of the framers of the Statute. There cannot be a fixed rule for Interpretation and similarly, a statute cannot be drafted without having multiple interpretations. As Justice Donaldson contended, ‘the interpretation of statutes is a craft as much as a science and the judges, as craftsmen, select and apply the appropriate rules as the tools of their trade’.

Palsikar, Abhinav, Critical Analysis of Literal Rule of Interpretation (October 28, 2020).

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