Every act passed by the Parliament begins with a short title of the act which declares the name by which the act may be called. This is followed by the extent and the year of commencement of the act. By extent, the act defines the territorial jurisdiction which determines the applicability of the act and maintainability of suits.
Every act passed by the Parliament begins with a short title of the act which declares the name by which the act may be called. This is followed by the extent and the year of commencement of the act. By extent, the act defines the territorial jurisdiction which determines the applicability of the act and maintainability of suits. For e.g. before August 5 of 2019, almost all the Acts passed contained a clause that exempted its application in Jammu and Kashmir due to the special status provided in Article 370 of the Constitution.
Further, the year of commencement is the date on which the act comes into force. It is to be noted that an act can come into force in parts, which means different provisions of the act come into force at different times as notified by the government in the official gazette. Moreover, different states shall enact the act on different dates by publishing it in the official gazette. In certain situations the act passed may be retrospective in enforcement, which means the act comes into force from a date prior to the date of enactment.
The chapter also contains the extent to which the act applies. This section describes the territorial extent of the application of the act. Before august 5 of 2019, almost all the acts passed contained a clause that exempted its application in Jammu and Kashmir due to its special status given by article 370. Similarly, the eastern state also has certain exemptions in its application which will be mentioned in certain acts. This is another feature of the act which should be considered while reading the act to understand it.
All acts are divided into chapters, which attempts to classify all connected sections under one head. First, Students should glance through the index to ascertain the subject matter under various chapters. The next step is to have a preliminary reading of the sections. Due to the complexity of the sentences, they must be brokeninto parts for proper understanding. The comas and the pauses must be taken into account while reading. Only through repeated readings, a student shall be able to grasp the context.
Another important aspect on needs to consider while reading the bare act is that we should give special attention to some terms. The word like and, or may, has great importance.When ‘may’ is used it means it is not necessary while when ‘shall’ is used the requirements mentioned shall comply without fail.
For better understanding, law students should take the help of books or commentaries. It is suggested to simultaneously read books/commentaries with act(s) and prepare notes for the purpose of revision and faster recollection. Alternatively, law students may read bare act first and try to interpret section(s) according to one’s own understanding. After that, they should read commentary books or textbooks to verify the authenticity of their interpretation.
One of the important points is that one should decide whether they prefer the diglot edition of the bare act or the English version. The advantage of the diglot bare act is that interpretations of certain sections can be made via reference to the translated Hindi text. Also, for convenience latest digital editions can be accessed through the official website of the government (legislative.gov.in).
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