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Report No. 60

5.3. Qualified view.-

There exists also a qualified view, namely, that where the text of the statute is, in any respect, ambiguous, help can be sought from the marginal note. According to this view, while marginal notes could not be used for interpreting or curtailing the provisions of a section where its meaning is plain, those notes could be used to clear an ambiguity,1 or to furnish some due as to the meaning and purpose of the section.2

1. Model Electric Oil Mill v. Corporation of Calcutta, AIR 1960 Cal 338 (389).

2. Saraf Shah v. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1963 AP 314.

5.4. For example, in a Gujarat case,1 it was stated that the marginal note to a section supported the construction placed by the court. The court observed, "No doubt, the marginal note cannot be referred to for the purpose of construing a section, but it certainly furnishes some clue as to the meaning and purpose of the section. The marginal note to section 89 clearly indicates that the object and purpose of the section is to effect termination of disproportionately excessive voting right in existing companies. There are no words in the marginal note limiting the object and purpose of the section to termination of disproportionately excessive voting rights only in respect of preference shares. The marginal note also thus indicates that section 89(1) applies to all existing shares whether they be preference shares or equity shares."

1. Juvan Singh v. Balbhadra Singh, AIR 1963 Guj 209 (219) (P.N. Bhagwati J.).

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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