Role of Judges in the Art of Interpretation of Statutes

  • Muskan Sharma and Nishka Bharat Asarpota
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  • Muskan Sharma

    Student at Symbiosis Law School Pune, India

  • Nishka Bharat Asarpota

    Student at Symbiosis Law School Pune, India

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Statutory interpretation is a practice through which the courts break down the words of a legislation and give true intent to it. While the legislature makes the laws, the judiciary performs the art of interpretation to give meaning to the words of the law maker. However, the intent of the legislator is often not the same as that of the judiciary which sometimes leads to a conflict and raises questions as to the extent to which the judiciary can exercise their freedom of interpretation. Sir Benjamin Cardozo had early on recognized the conflict which he discussed in his lectures at Yale University. Of the lectures delivered, two came to be published as books known as ‘The Nature of the Judicial Process’ and ‘The Growth of the Law’. In these, he talks about how sometimes, it becomes a role of the judge to fill gaps in the legislation in order to apply them in different situations. This ‘filling of gaps’, inevitably, leads to the creation of new laws through interpretation though this was done ‘interstitially’. This proves the importance of interpretation of statutes by the judiciary as they unearth the real meaning and apply it by sometimes filling the gaps. Through this paper, the authors seek to identify the principles defined by Cardozo and interpret the role played by the judges through various approaches of interpretation with the help of relevant case laws and examples in the Indian as well as international context.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 4, Page 826 - 839


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