Tuesday, 19 January 2016


The main objective and purpose of the Act are found in the Preamble of the Statute. Preamble is the Act in a nutshell. It is a preparatory statement. It contains the recitals showing the reason for enactment of the Act. If the language of the Act is clear the preamble must be ignored. The preamble is an intrinsic aid in the interpretation of an ambiguous act.
If any doubts arise from the terms employed by the Legislature, it has always been held a safe means of collecting the intention to call in aid the ground and cause of making the statute and to have recourse to the preamble.
In Kashi Prasad v State, the court held that even though the preamble cannot be used to defeat the enacting clauses of a statute, it can be treated as a key for the interpretation of the statute.
In District Mining Officer and others v Tata Iron & Steel Co. and another, (2001) 7 SCC 358
Supreme Court has observed: “It is also a cardinal principle of construction that external aids are brought in by widening the concept of context as including not only other enacting provisions of the same statute, but its preamble, the existing state of law, other statutes in pari materia and the mischief which the statute was intended to remedy.” (para 18)
In Re Kerala Education bill, the Supreme Court held that the policy and purpose may be deduced from the long title and the preamble.

The Preamble expresses the scope and object of the Act more comprehensively than the long title. The preamble may recite the grounds and the cause for making a statute and/or the evil which is sought to be remedied by it. The Preamble like the Long title can legitimately be used for costruing it. However, the preamble cannot override the provisions of the Act. Only if the Wording of the Act gives rise to doubts as to its proper construction (e.g. where the words or a phrase has more than one meaning and doubts arise as to which of the two meanings is intended in the Act) the preamble can and ought to be referred to arrive at the proper construction.
Preamble is considered as a part of statute[1] and key source to open the mind of interpreters[2]. It expresses the scope and object of the Act in a comprehensive manner.

[1] M.K. Venkatarama Iyer, ‘Contribution of Bharati Tirtha and Vidyaranya to Development of Advaitic
[2]In Re: The Berubari Union Case, AIR 1960 SC 845



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