Benignior Sententia In Verbis Generalibus Seu Dubiis Est Preferenda – Legal Maxim

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Literal Meaning

The more favourable construction is to be placed on general or doubtful words.

Explanation

In the event that words are general or suspicious, it is wanted to have a progressively liberal understanding of the words. An endeavour to translate dubious words in an agreement to mean what they were expected by the gatherings. The purpose behind vagueness of enactment is the essential idea of language. It isn’t constantly conceivable to precisely change over the enactment into composed words. The adaptability of language definitely implies that there will frequently be similarly great or similarly unconvincing contentions for two contending elucidations. There are now and again the arrangements having more than one significance or the uncertainty in the language. The governing body progresses toward becoming functions in the wake of ordering the statues. The mediators can’t return to the lawmaking body and request the accurate significance of the rule as the administrators would not have accepted such a wide assortment of conditions while the creation of a specific resolution. This is a standard of development that were words have an obscure importance and the genuine purpose and significance is in uncertainty, they are to be translated generously in order to attempt to give the

Origin

Interpretation is done when true sense of an enactment is to be found out. It is done by giving the words of the enactment their natural and ordinary meaning. It is the process of ascertaining the true meaning of the words used. In the process of interpretation if any word is ambiguous then the maxim states that more favourable construction should be done. In the interest to find out the meaning a favourable construction needs to be done.

Illustration

If in a contract it is stated that Mr. A will sell his house to Mr. B and nothing else is mentioned and it is known that Mr. A owns a house situated at Hyderabad then it will be presumed that the house situated in Hyderabad is mentioned in the contract.   

Case Reference

In the case of Kanai Lal v.Paramnidh[1] the court said “it must always be borne in mind that the first and primary rule of construction is that the intention of the Legislature must be found in the words used by the legislature.” It also added-“When the material words are capable of two constructions, one of which is likely to defeat or impair the policy of which is likely to defeat or impair the policy of the Act whilst the other construction is likely to assist the achievement of the said policy, then the courts would prefer to adopt the latter construction.”

In Commissioner of Income Tax, Madhya Pradesh and Bhopal v Sodra Devi[2] it was observed that on a plain reading of the sub-section, I have come to the conclusion that there really is no ambiguity and the word “individual” has been used in the sub-section in its ordinary accepted connotation, that is, either a male or a female individual; two of the sub-clauses of cl. (a) are no doubt confined to a male individual and that has been made clear by the use of the words ” wife” and “husband”, instead of the words “such individual “.

In the case of R. S. Nayak vs A. R. Antulay[3] it was haeld that where there is an ambiguity in a statute, the court may have regard to the Report of a Committee presented to Parliament containing proposals for legislation which resulted in the enactment of the statute, in order to determine the mischief which the statute was intended to remedy.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Reference:

[1] Kanai Lal v.Paramnidh, A.I.R 1957 SC 90

[2] Commissioner of Income Tax, Madhya Pradesh and Bhopal v. Sodra Devi, AIR 1957 SC 832

[3] R. S. Nayak v. A. R. Antulay, AIR 1984 SC 684