What is Golden Rule ?


    Golden rule is a modification of literal rule, Golden rule allows departure from strict literal Rule By recourse to consequences of applying a natural and ordinary meaning. The golden rule is used to remove absurdity.  It comes into existence where some doubt existed as to the meaning of a world.

Origin of Golden rule - 


      In the year 1857, for the first time, Lord Wensleydale propounded the golden rule of interpretation,  in Grey Vs. Pearson. Thereafter this rule has become famous by the name of Wensleydale's Golden rule. 

Meaning of Golden rule  -


       The golden rules departs from its strictly literal rules, it is elaboration or extension of literal rule. Golden rule of interpretation allows judges to depart from a word normal meaning in order to avoid an absurd result

         According to Maxwell, "The golden rule is that words of Institute must prima facie be given their ordinary meaning.

          According to the golden rule in the construction of a statute, the Court Must Adhere to the ordinary meaning and grammatical construction of the words used.

       It is a modification of the principle of literal or grammatical interpretation.


 Golden rule can be used in two ways - 

    golden rule can be used in a narrow sense and wider Sense.


Importance of Golden rule of Interpretation - 


1)  it departs from its strictly literal rules

2)  the court adopt the golden rule of interpretation in order to arrive at a perfect interpretation which would bring out the true meaning of the language, in the process of giving effect to the real intention of the Legislature.

Golden rule in nutshell - 


Golden rule of Interpretation contains the following points

  •  Modification of literal rule
  •  Different from the literal rule
  •  Application of literal rule may lead to an absurd interpretation of statute. 
  •  Golden rule tries to avoid absurd and abnormal result.

Application of Golden Rule - 


   Application of golden rule depends upon the consequences.  Where the situation demands the application of the golden rule it is important to consider the effect or consequences, which would result come out from it, for the of one point out the real meaning of the words.

Advantages and disadvantages of Golden rule -


 Here are some advantages and disadvantages of the golden rule which are as follows -

Advantages of Golden rule - 

With the help of golden rule errors in drafting can be corrected immediately.

 Decisions are made more in line with Parliament intentions.

 Disadvantages of golden rule - 

 Infringe separation of powers.

 Judges have no power to intervene for Pure justice where there is no absurdity.

Relevant case laws - 


 Lee Vs Knapp 1967 (2) QB 422- 

           In this case, interpretation of the world 'stop' was involved. Under section 77(1) of the road traffic Act, 1960 a driver causing an accident shall stop after the accident. In this case, the driver stopped for a moment after causing an accident and then moved away. Applying the golden rule the Court held that requirement of the section had not been followed by the driver as he had not stopped for a reasonable time of period Requiring interested persons to make necessary inquiries for him about the accident

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