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Report No. 110

IV. Construction of Words and Clauses

16.16. Section 83-General words.-

Sometimes, general words in a will may be understood in a restricted sense, and restricted words may be understood in a sense wider than usual. The test is the intention of the testator. Section 83 deals with both these aspects in these words-

"83. General words may be understood in a restricted sense where it may be collected from the will that the testator meant to use them in a restricted sense; and words may he understood in a wider sense than that which they usually hear, where it may he collected from the other winds of the will that the testator meant to use them in such wider sense."

The rule enacted in the section is reasonable enough. And though it may not be easy to apply it in a particular case, there is no method of making it more precise.

We do not, therefore, recommend any amendment in the section.

16.17. Section 84-Two meanings.-

Where a clause in a will is susceptible of two meanings according to one of which it has some effect, and according to the other of which it can have none, the former shall be preferred, under section 84.

The principle here is that effect must be given, as far as possible, to a will. As Lord Talbot said1-

"Where words are capable of a two-fold construction, even in the case of a deed, and much more of a will, it is just and reasonable that such construction should be received as tends to make it good."

The section needs no change.

1. Atkinson v. Hutchinson, 3 PWs 250 Henderson (1928), p. 161.

16.18. Section 85-reasonable construction.- Section 85 provides as follows:-

"85. No part of a will shall be rejected as destitute of meaning if it is possible to put a reasonable construction upon it."

The section is based on the legislative policy1 of giving effect to the testator's intentions-of course, within reasonable limits.

The section needs no change.

1. See paras. 16.2 to 16.4, supra.

16.19. Section 86-Words used in different parts of same will.-

A will-or, for that matter, every legal instrument is expected to bear internal consistency. Interpretation of words reported in different parts of the will should therefore be harmonious. Accordingly, section 86 provides that if the same words occur in different parts of the same will, they shall he taken to have been used everywhere in the same sense, unless a contrary intention appears.

The section need not be disturbed.

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 Back

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