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The Internal Aids to construction evolved over time as a very important

and bankable source while interpreting any statute. The view earlier
was to give it a very narrow scope however over time the jurisprudence
of interpretation has developed so has the value of internal Aids, Even
today Internal Aids to construction are given preference over external
aids to construction. Of course it is true that when the meaning of a
section is clear internal aids have no relevance and also there is no way
that the meaning of a section could be changed due to the internal aids
i.e., even if the headings (Internal Aid) of a section is contrary to the
subject matter or content of a section and if the section is sufficiently
clear, the heading cannot be used to nullify the meaning of the section,
still headings (internal aids) play a very important role. It is given a
high preference over External aids. Also the 63rd Law commission and
the 183rd Law Commission of India reports signify the importance
attached to internal aids of construction. By virtue of the case laws, Law
Commission reports (referred above) and the opinion of various authors
it is now clear that internal aids to construction could be construed very
important sources to know the intention of the legislature. The intention
of the legislature could be ascertained through Headings, preamble,
proviso, marginal notes, etcTherefore our initial question as to
whether internal aids to construction can be construed to
represent/signify the intention of the legislature is answered in the

The Preamble of the statue like the long title is a part of the act and is an admissible
aid to construction, the preamble express the scope , object and purpose of the act.
It may be recite the ground and cause of making the statue, the evil sought to be
remedied, or the doubts which may be intended to be settled in words of Sir John
Nichol It is to the preamble more specially we are to look for the reason or the
spirit of every statue, rehearsing this as it ordinarily does, the evils sought to be
remedied, or the doubts purported to be removed by the statue, and so evidencing,
in best and most satisfactory manner , the object or intention of legislature in
making or passing the statue itself.17 Tindle C.J who advised the house of lords in
Sussex peerage case18 said If any doubts arise from the termed 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 statue and have recourse to preamble19
Chief Justice Dyer said it is the key to open the minds of the makers of the act, and
the mischief they intended to redress. The decision given by the judges of House of
Lords in A.G v HRH Prince Ernest August20established the proposition The preamble
being the part of the statue can be read along with the other portion of the act to
find out meaning of the words in the enacting provision as also to decide whether
they are clear or ambiguous.21 The preamble in itself is not an enacting provision
and not of the same weight as an aid to construction of a section of the act as are
other relevant enacting words to be found elsewhere in the act , the utility of the
preamble diminishes on a conclusion as to clarity of enacting provision,22 the
Indian supreme court has recently approvingly quoted these proposition.


Preamble has the function to express certain facts. Seeing the preamble of Indian
Constitution it is easily accessible the motive and object of the founding fathers that
they wanted to make India into Sovereign Socialist Secular, Democratic Republic.
They wanted to secure justice, liberty, equality, fraternity to every citizen.
The drafting committee of constituent assembly formulated the preamble in the
light of objective resolution but restricted it to defining the essential feature of a
new state and its basic socio political objectives. The preamble of constitution like
any preamble of any statue furnishes the key to open the mind of the maker of the
constitution more so because the constitution assembly took great pain in
formulating it so that it may reflect the essential feature and basic objectives of the

constitution. The constitution including preamble must be read as a whole and in

case of doubt interpreted consistent with its basic structure to promote the great
objectives stated in the preamble.24 The preamble as a whole can never be
regarded as a source of substantive power nor as a source of any prohibition or
limitation.25 The preamble of the constitution amendment act can be used to
understand the object of the amendment.26 The majority judgement in
Keshavananda bharti27 and Minerava Mills28 strongly relied upon the preamble in
reaching the conclusion that the power of amendment confer by article 368 was
limited and did not enable parliament to alter the basic structure or framework of
the constitution.29 By Sec. 2 of the constitution amendment act 1976 two
amendments were made by the parliaments in the preamble wherein the words
sovereign, democratic, republic were replaced by the words sovereign socialist
secular democratic were substituted and secondly for the words unity of India the
words unity and integrity of nations were substituted. These amendments were to
be held valid in Minerva Millss case. The addition of the word socialist enables the
court to lean more in favour of nationalisation and economic equality. Lord
Somervell has stated the principle that the preamble differs in their scope and
consequently in the weight, if any , which they may have on one side or the other of
the dispute . there can be no rule. if in an act the preamble is general or brief
statement of the main purpose, it ,may well be of little , if any, value. The act may
said to go beyond or in some respect fall short of the purpose so briefly stated. Most
act contain exceptions to their main purpose on the meaning on which such
preamble would presumably, throw no light . on the other hand some general and
most local acts have their limits set out in some details there may be cases in which
a section read with a preamble may have different meaning from that which it
would have if there were no preamble.


A marginal note is the side note which catches the eye and generally it is not taken
for the interpretation purpose. Although opinion is not uniform the weight of
authority is in favour of the view that the marginal not appended to a section
cannot be used for construing the section.38 In the case of Chandler v/s D.P.P.
Dub39, the House of Lord said that side not could not be used as an aid of
interpretation. In the case of C.I.T. v Ahmedhai Umarbhai & Co.40 the court said that
marginal notes in an Indian statute as an act of Parliament cannot be referred to for
the purpose of construing the statute.


help used to be taken sometimes from the marginal notes when the clear meaning

of the enactment is in doubt. But the modern view of the courts is that marginal
notes should have no role to play while interpreting a statute. The basis of this view
is that the marginal notes are not parts of a statute because they are not inserted
by the legislators nor are they printed in the margin under the instructions or
authority of the legislature. These notes are inserted by the drafters and many
times they may be in accurate too. However, there may be exceptional
circumstances where marginal notes are inserted by the legislatures and therefore,
while interpreting such an enactment help can be taken from such marginal notes.
The constitution of India is such a case. The marginal notes were inserted by the
Constitution Assembly and, therefore, while interpreting the Indian Constitution, it is
always permissible to seek guidance and help from the marginal notes.41
Immunity Co. Ltd. v State of Bihar42 marginal notes appended to Articles of the
constitution have been held to constitute part of the constitution as passed by the
constituent Assembly and therefore they have been made use of in construing the
Articles, e.g. Art 286, as furnishing Prima facie, some clue as to the meaning and
purpose of the Article. In S.P. Gupta v President of India, 43 the Supreme Court held
that if the relevant provisions in the body of a statute firmly point towards a
construction which would conflict with the marginal note has to yield. If there is any
ambiguity in the meaning of the provisions in the body of the statute, the marginal
note may be looked into as an aid to construction. In Aisha Potty v Returning Officer,
Kollar District Panchayath44, the High Court of Kerala held that the marginal note of
Article 2430 of the constitution, namely, Bar to interference by courts in electoral
matters can be relied upon for interpretation of provision only if there is
ambiguity, the words of the main provision itself lends key to its interpretation and
the marginal note cannot control the same. Since neither this Article nor section 88
of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act, 1994, there is no intention to oust jurisdiction of
civil court from election matter. In K.P. Varghese v Income Tax Officer 45it was
stated by the Supreme Court that while it is undoubtedly true that the marginal
note to a section cannot be referred to for the purpose of construing the section, it
can certainly be relied upon as indicating the drift of the section or to show what the
section is dealing with. It cannot control the interpretation of the words of a section
particularly when the language of the section is clear and unambiguous but, being
part of the statute, it prima facie furnish some clue as to the meaning and purpose
of the section. Besides this a lot of cases shows that in case of constitutional matter,
the marginal note can be taken into consideration to resolve the ambiguity in a