Textual Interpretation Of Statute Should Match With Contextual Interpretation: Supreme Court

Update: 2022-01-20 06:31 GMT

The Supreme Court observed that while interpreting the provisions of a statute, the textual interpretation should be matched with the contextual one.Statutes have to be construed so that every word has a place and everything is in its place, the bench comprising Justices  L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna observed.The court observed thus while considering an appeal against...

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The Supreme Court observed that while interpreting the provisions of a statute, the textual interpretation should be matched with the contextual one.

Statutes have to be construed so that every word has a place and everything is in its place, the bench comprising Justices  L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna observed.

The court observed thus while considering an appeal against a Karnataka High Court judgment interpreting Section 29 and 30 of the Trade Marks Act,1999.

In this case, the appellant­-plaintiff filed a suit claiming a decree of permanent injunction to restrain the ­defendants from using the trade mark "SAI RENAISSANCE" or any other trade mark identical with their trade mark "RENAISSANCE",. The trial court partly decreed the suit by restraining the ­defendants from using the trademark "SAI RENAISSANCE" or any other trade mark which incorporates the ­plaintiff's trade mark "RENAISSANCE" or is deceptively similar thereto. The High Court, allowing defendant's appeal, observed that there was no infringement of trade mark, and set aside the Trial Court judgment. This made the plaintiff approach the Apex Court.

The court noted that the High Court had held that the plaintiff had failed to establish that the trade mark has reputation in India and that the defendants' use thereof was honest and further that there was no confusion likely to be created in the minds of the consumers inasmuch as the class of consumers was totally different.

Disagreeing with this interpretation, the bench said that the High Court failed to take into consideration two important principles of interpretation: textual and contextual interpretation. After referring to judgments viz Reserve Bank of India v. Peerless General Finance and Investment Co. Ltd. , the court said:

"61.It is thus trite law that while interpreting the provisions of a statute, it is necessary that the textual interpretation should be matched with the contextual one. The Act must be looked at as a whole and it must be discovered what each section, each clause, each phrase and each word is meant and designed to say as to fit into the scheme of the entire Act. No part of a statute and no word of a statute can be construed in isolation. Statutes have to be construed so that every word has a place and everything is in its place."

Regarding the High Court's construction of Section 29, the bench observed thus:

"One of the purposes for which the said Act has been enacted is prohibiting the use of someone else's trade mark as a part of the corporate name or the name of business concern. If the entire scheme of the Act is construed as a whole, it provides for the rights conferred by registration and the right to sue for infringement of the registered trade mark by its proprietor. The legislative scheme as enacted under the said statute elaborately provides for the eventualities in which a proprietor of the registered trade mark can bring an action for infringement of the trade mark and the limits on effect of the registered trade mark. By picking up a part of the provisions in sub­section (4) of Section 29 of the said Act and a part of the provision in sub­section (1) of Section 30 of the said Act and giving it a textual meaning without considering the context in which the said provisions have to be construed, in our view, would not be permissible. We are at pains to say that the High Court fell in error in doing so."

The court also added that a part of a section cannot be read in isolation. [Balasinor Nagrik Cooperative Bank Ltd. v. Babubhai Shankerlal Pandya (1987) 1 SCC 606 ; Kalawatibai v. (1991) 3 SCC 410 referred to ]

"63.Ignoring this principle, the High Court has picked up clause (c) of sub­section (4) of Section 29 of the said Act in isolation without even noticing the other provisions contained in the said sub­section (4) of Section 29 of the said Act. Similarly, again while considering the import of subsection (1) of Section 30 of the said Act, the High Court has only picked up clause (b) of sub­section (1) of Section 30 of the said Act, ignoring the provisions contained in clause (a) of the said sub­section (1) of Section 30 of the said Act.", the court added.


Case name

RENAISSANCE HOTEL HOLDINGS INC. vs B. VIJAYA SAI

Citation

2022 LiveLaw (SC) 65

Case no./Date

CA 404 OF 2022 | 19 Jan 2022

Coram

Justices L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna observed.

Counsel

Sr. Adv K.V. Viswanathan for appellant and Adv B.C. Sitarama Rao for respondents

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