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Report No. 183

(5) Foreign Decisions

For the purpose of construction of Indian statutes, courts also refer to decisions of foreign courts which are following same system of jurisprudence as ours. The assistance of such decisions is subject to the qualification that prime importance is always to be given to the language of the relevant Indian statute, the circumstances and the setting in which it is enacted and the relevant conditions in India where it is to be applied. These foreign decisions have persuasive value only and are not binding on Indian courts and where guidance is available from binding Indian decisions, reference to foreign decisions is of no use (see Forasol v ONGC, AIR 1984 SC 241; General Electric Co. v. Renusagar Power Co., (1987) 4 SCC 137).

While interpreting provisions relating to fundamental rights contained in the Indian Constitution, Supreme Court took much assistance from American precedents. In case where an International Convention is involved, it is obviously desirable that decisions in different jurisdictions across the world should so far as possible be kept in line with each other. Therefore, in such cases foreign decisions are more useful for guiding the courts.

A continuum on the General Clauses Act, 1897 with special reference to the admissibility and codification of external aids to interpretation of statutes Back

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