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Report No. 60

8.2B. Two aspects of the matter.-

Two aspects of the matter should be noted at this stage. For the specific situation dealt with in section 9, the rule enacted in that section prevails, and the first day is excluded. In situations not dealt with in section 9, however, the question is to be decided as one of construction as the positive provision in section 9 is not, in terms, applicable.

A Madras case-In re Court fees1-illustrates the position. In that case, a question arose as to the interpretation of a notification of the Provincial Government, published in the Gazette of May 5th, which contained rules imposing higher court fees on plaints. Did the new scales apply to suits instituted on that day? That was the precise question. The words of the notification were, "that the amendments do come into force from the date of publication in the Gazette". Did those words mean "on and after that date",-thus including the 5th May-or did they mean "after that date",-thus excluding May, the 5th. The majority took the former view. Schwabo C.J., said, "In every case, the word "from" preceding a date may have one of two meanings, namely, on and after, that is, including the named date, or merely after, that is, excluding the named date; it is necessary to look at the context and the circumstances of each case to arrive at the true construction. But I think further that, unless there are valid reasons to the contrary, certain rules may be stated thus:

(a) that, if the named date is the "beginning of a definite limited period"2 that is, when there is a terminus ad quern as well as a terminus a quo, then prima facie the first day is excluded;

(b) that, if the named date is the beginning of an indefinite period, then, prima facie, the first day is included.

"I am of opinion that in ordinary plan English, unless there is anything indicating the contrary intention in the context, "from a named date" means "on and after that day".

In the same case3, Courts Trotter J. elaborated the position thus:-

"Where a statute fixes only the terminus a quo of a state of things which is envisaged as to last indefinitely, the common law rule obtains that you ought to include fractions of a day and that statute or order or regulation takes effect from the first moment of the day on which it is enacted or passed, that is to say, from the mid-night "of the day preceding the day on which it is promulgated"; on the other hand, where a statute delimits the period marked both by a terminus a quo and a terminus ad quern, the former is to be excluded and the latter to be "included in the reckoning."4

Krishnaswami Aiyar J., however, took the view that the notification took effect only on the next day, i.e. on the 6th May. We are referring to this case for its discussion of the principles,-though the case fell outside the terms of section 9, because there was no "series of days or other period of time" as is contemplated by section 9.

1. Court fees (in re:), AIR 1924 Mad 257.

2. Emphasis supplied.

3. Court fees (in re:), AIR 1924 Mad 257.

4. See also Halsbury, 3rd Edn., Vol. 32, p. 138.

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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