CLATalogue Legal Reasoning Test Series Paper 4

CLATalogue Legal Reasoning Test Series Paper 4

Source: (https://indiankanoon.org/doc/121687393/)

Passage 1

The basic task of the court is to ascertain and give effect to the true meaning of what Parliament has said in the enactment to be construed. But that is not to say that attention should be confined and a literal interpretation given to the particular provisions which give rise to difficulty. Such an approach not only encourages immense prolixity in drafting, since the draftsman will feel obliged to provide expressly for every contingency which may possibly arise. It may also (under the banner of loyalty to the will of Parliament) lead to the frustration of that will, because undue concentration on the minutiae of the enactment may lead the court to neglect the purpose which Parliament intended to achieve when it enacted the statute. Every statute other than a pure consolidating statute is, after all, enacted to make some change, or address some problem, or remove some blemish, or effect some improvement in the national life. The court's task, within the permissible bounds of interpretation, is to give effect to Parliament's purpose. So the controversial provisions should be read in the context of the statute as a whole, and the statute as a whole should be read in the historical context of the situation which led to its enactment. In Seaford Court Estates Ltd.​​ vs. Asher, Lord Denning held that a Judge, believing​​ him​​ to be fettered by the supposed rule that he must look to the language and nothing else, laments that the draftsmen have not provided for this or that, or have been guilty of some or other ambiguity. It would certainly save the Judges trouble if Acts of Parliament were drafted with divine prescience and perfect clarity. In the absence of it, when a defect appears a Judge cannot simply fold his hands and blame the draftsman. He must set to work on the constructive task of finding the intention of Parliament, and he must do this not only from the language of the statute, but also from a consideration of the social conditions which gave rise to it, and of the mischief which it was passed to remedy, and then he must supplement the written word so as to give "force and life" to the intention of the legislature.​​ The conflict between giving a literal interpretation or a purposive interpretation to a statute or a provision in a statute is perennial. It can be settled only if the draftsman gives a long-winded explanation in drafting the law but this would result in an awkward draft that might well turn out to be unintelligible. The interpreter has, therefore, to consider not only the text of the law but the context in which the law was enacted and the social context in which the law should be interpreted.​​ One of the rules of interpretation is that Courts are competent, in extraordinary circumstances, e.g. where the language falls short of the whole object of Legislature, to enlarge the meaning of an expression in statute in order to give full effect to the intention of that statute as appearing from the various provisions contained in it, if the purpose for which the legislation is brought into existence can be advanced by doing so or the mischief that it intends to curb can be curbed by it.

Questions

  • In the case of Seaford Court Estates Ltd.​​ vs. Asher which of the following is defendant to the case?

  • Seaford Court Estates Ltd

  • Asher

  • State

  • Rex

Ans. b

Rationale: defendant is the person against whom the case is filed i.e. against whom the person going to court seeks relief. The party named after​​ vs.​​ is generally known as the defendant.

  • Which of the following provisions shall be read in the historical context of the situation which led to its enactment?

  • Consolidated

  • Literal

  • Purposive

  • Controversial

Ans. d

Rationale: ‘the controversial provisions should be read in the context of the statute as a whole, and the statute as a whole should be read in the historical context of the situation which led to its enactment’ it makes it clear that controversial provisions shall be read in the historical context of the situation which led to its enactment.

  • ​​ What are the major concerns in giving literal interpretation to a statue?

  • neglect the purpose

  • encourages prolixity

  • both a and b

  • none of the above

Ans. c

Rationale: the first five lines of the passage clearly indicate that literal interpretation of the statue may lead to the frustration of will of the Parliament by neglecting the purpose and it encourages immense​​ prolixity in drafting.

  • In a situation where the statue is not written with precise clarity what should be the approach of the judge?

  • Give literal interpretation

  • Refer back the statue for amendment to the Parliament

  • Make purposive interpretation

  • Draft the statue properly

Ans. c

Rationale: In the absence of precise clarity of the statue the judge should work on the constructive task of finding the intention of Parliament, and he must do this not only from the language of the statute, but also from a consideration of the social conditions which gave rise to it.

  • In which of the following situations court can use its extraordinary interpretation powers​​ for enlarging the meaning of an expression in statute?

  • Where​​ the language falls short of the whole object of Legislature

  • Where the statue is drafted in haste

  • Where the Acts of Parliament are drafted with divine prescience and perfect clarity

  • Where draftsman gives a long-winded explanation in drafting the law

Ans. a

Rationale: ‘Courts are competent, in extraordinary circumstances, e.g. where the language falls short of the whole object of Legislature, to enlarge the meaning of an expression in statute in order to give full effect to the intention of that statute as appearing from the various provisions contained in it, if the purpose for which the legislation is brought into existence can be advanced by doing so or the mischief that it intends to curb can be curbed by it’. This line from the passage makes it clear that when the language of the statue falls short to explain the whole object of Legislature then courts can use its extraordinary interpretation powers for enlarging the meaning of an expression in statute.

Passage 2

The Supreme Court has held "that when dignity is lost, life goes into oblivion." The right to human dignity has many elements. First and foremost, human dignity is the dignity of each human being "as a human being". Another element is that human dignity is infringed if a person's life, physical or mental welfare is harmed. It is in this sense torture, humiliation, forced labour, etc. all infringe on human dignity.​​ Applying the principles of purposive interpretation, the expression "life" as it appears in section 5 of the MTP Act is to be construed liberally so as to effectuate the purpose for enactment of MTP Act as reflected in the Statement of Objects and Reasons. Such construction will advance the purpose of the MTP Act by liberalizing or decriminalizing the existing provisions relating to termination of pregnancy in IPC where medical termination of pregnancy is warranted on account of risk to the physical as well as mental health of the mother (health measure), where pregnancy arises from a sex crime like a rape or intercourse with a mentally ill woman etc. (humanitarian grounds) and where there is substantial risk that the child, if born, would suffer from deformities and diseases (eugenic grounds). Narrow or literal construction, in contrast, will force a pregnant mother to continue her pregnancy even though the same might involve grave injury to her mental health, even though the pregnancy may have arisen from a sex crime, and even though there is substantial risk that the child, if born, would suffer from deformities and diseases. Narrow or literal construction, would therefore, exclude almost altogether the humanitarian and eugenic grounds as well as the ground of grave injury to the mental health of the mother. In such circumstances, the principle of narrow or literal construction will have to yield to the principle of liberal or purposive construction.​​ Section 5 of the MTP Act as restricted to mere physical existence or mere animal existence will also not be in harmony with the constitutional principles of life, personal liberty and human dignity. The Supreme Court has held that there is no doubt that a woman's right to make reproductive choice is also a dimension of personal liberty as understood in Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The​​ crucial consideration in such matters is that a woman's right to privacy, dignity and bodily integrity should be respected.​​ Therefore, in a situation where the continuance of pregnancy poses grave injury to the physical or mental health of the mother or in a situation where there is substantial risk that if the child were born, would suffer from deformities and diseases, the pregnant mother is forced to continue with her pregnancy merely because the pregnancy has extended beyond the ceiling of 20 weeks, there would arise a serious affront to the fundamental right of such mother to privacy, to exercise a reproductive choices, to bodily integrity, to her dignity.​​ The fundamental right to life which is the most precious human right and which forms the ark of all other rights must be interpreted in a broad and expansive spirit so as to invest it with significance and vitality which may endure for years to come and enhance the dignity of the individual and the worth of the human person.

Questions

  • Section 5 of the MTP Act if given a narrow meaning violates which of the Articles of the Constitution?

  • 14

  • 21

  • 20

  • 17

Ans. b

Rationale: ‘Section 5 of the MTP Act as restricted to mere physical existence or mere animal existence will also not be in harmony with the constitutional principles of life, personal liberty and human dignity’. Article 21 of the Constitution denotes Right to life and liberty

  • Which of the following are considered responsible for infringing human dignity?

  • Forced labour

  • Torture

  • Humiliation

  • All the above

Ans. d

Rationale: ‘The right to human dignity has many elements. First and foremost, human dignity is the dignity of each human being "as a human being". Another element is that human dignity is infringed if a person's life, physical or mental welfare is harmed. It is in this sense torture, humiliation, forced labour, etc. all infringe on human dignity’. This line of the passage makes it explicit that all the given options are liable for infringing human dignity.

  • Termination of more than 20 weeks pregnancy shall be criminated due to which of the following reason?

  • Pregnancy was caused due to rape

  • Pregnancy was caused forceful sex by husband with his wife of 19 years of age.

  • Pregnancy would cause deformity to child if born

  • Pregnancy was caused to mentally ill woman with her consent

Ans. b

Rationale: where medical termination of pregnancy is warranted on account of risk to the physical as well as mental health of the mother (health measure), where pregnancy arises from a sex crime like a rape or intercourse with a mentally ill woman etc. (humanitarian grounds) and where there is substantial risk that the child, if born, would suffer from deformities and diseases (eugenic grounds) shall decriminalizing the existing provisions relating to termination of pregnancy in IPC.

  • In reference to the above mentioned passage what shall lead to violation of mother’s right to privacy?

  • Extension​​ of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks if she is subjected to mental and physical harm.

  • Prohibition​​ of determination of the sex of her own child

  • Restricting abortion of more than 20 weeks pregnancy​​ 

  • None of the above

Ans. a

Rationale:​​ ‘situation where the continuance of pregnancy poses grave injury to the physical or mental health of the mother or in a situation where there is substantial risk that if the child were born, would suffer from deformities and diseases, the pregnant mother is forced to continue with her pregnancy merely because the pregnancy has extended beyond the ceiling of 20 weeks, there would arise a serious affront to the fundamental right of such mother to privacy, to exercise a reproductive choices, to bodily integrity, to her dignity’. This line from the passage makes it clear that extension of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks if the mother is subjected to mental and physical harm will violate her right to privacy.

  • Which of the following articles of the Constitution forms the ark of all other rights guaranteed by the Constitution?

  • 21

  • 22

  • 19

  • 20

Ans. a

Rationale: Article 21 of the Constitution denotes Right to life and liberty. ‘The fundamental right to life which is the most precious human right and which forms the ark of all other rights must be interpreted in a broad and expansive spirit’. It is clear from these lines that right to life forms the ark of all other rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

 

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