Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Parliamentary history

Parliamentary history
Parliamentary History, Historical Facts and Surrounding Circumstances
Historical setting cannot be used as an aid if the words are plain and clear. If the wordings are ambiguous, the historical setting may be considered in order to arrive at the proper construction. Historical setting covers parliamentary history, historical facts, statement of objects and reasons, report of expert committees.

Parliamentary history means the process by which an act is enacted. This includes conception of an idea,
drafting of the bill, the debates made, the amendments proposed etc. Speech made in mover of the bill, amendments considered during the progress of the bill are considered in parliamentary history where as the papers placed before the cabinet which took the decision for the introduction of the bill are not relevant since these papers are not placed before the parliament. The historical facts of the statute that is the external
circumstances in which it was enacted in should also be taken into note so that it can be understood that the statute in question was intended to alter the law or leave it where it stood. Statement of objective and reasons as to why the statute is being brought to enactment can also be a very helpful fact in the research for historical facts, but the same if done after extensive amendments in statute it may be unsafe to attach these with the statute in the end. It is better to use the report of a committee before presenting it in front of the legislature as they guide us with a legislative intent and place their recommendations which come in handy while enactment of the bill.
The Supreme Court in a numbers of cases referred to debates in the Constituent Assembly for interpretation of Constitutional provisions. Recently, the Supreme Court in S.R. Chaudhuri v State of Punjab and others(2001) 7 SCC 126 [4] has stated that it is a settled position that debates in the Constituent Assembly may be relied upon as an aid to interpret a Constitutional provision because it is the function of the Court to find out the intention of the framers of the Constitution. (Para 33)
But as far as speeches in Parliament are concerned, a distinction is made between speeches of the mover of the Bill and speeches of other Members. Regarding speeches made by the Members of the Parliament at the time of consideration of a Bill, it has been held that they are not admissible as extrinsic aids to the interpretation of the statutory provision. However, speeches made by the mover of the Bill or Minister may be referred to for the purpose of finding out the object intended to be achieved by the Bill.
(K.S. Paripoornan v State of Kerala and othersAIR 1995 SC 1012) [5]

So far as Statement of Objects and Reasons, accompanying a legislative bill is concerned, it is permissible to refer to it for understanding the background, the antecedent state of affairs, the surrounding circumstances in relation to the statute and the evil which the statute sought to remedy. But, it cannot be used to ascertain the true meaning and effect of the substantive provision of the statute. (Devadoss (dead) by L. Rs, v. Veera Makali Amman Koil AthalurAIR 1998 SC 750) [6]

Reports of Commissions including Law Commission or Committees including Parliamentary Committees preceding the introduction of a Bill can also be referred to in the Court as evidence of historical facts or of surrounding circumstances or of mischief or evil intended to be remedied. Law Commission’s Reports can also be referred to where a particular enactment or amendment is the result of recommendations of Law
Commission Report. The Supreme Court in Rosy and another v State of Kerala and others(2000) 2 SCC 230 [7] considered Law Commission of India, 41st Report for interpretation of section 200 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.

No comments:

Post a Comment