Reading bare act is very essential to understand laws; it is the exact text of a particular enactment by legislature. The language used in bare acts is often a bit harder and confusing. Most of the students, teachers, lawyers, judicial aspirants, and even judges face difficulties to understand the law by reading Bare Acts. In this article, we will learn how to read Bare Act to understand laws.
There are some methods or techniques, which you can follow while reading Bare Acts for a clear understanding of the law.
1. Know the purpose of the Act
The first thing you have to do before reading a Bare Act is, you have to understand the purpose and objects of that particular Act, you have to find why this Act was enacted by the legislature.
Almost every Act provides a long title at the beginning of that Act which defines the object of that Act, for example, the long title of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1973 is “An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to criminal procedure.”
So the long title of Code of Criminal Procedure defining that to consolidate and amend the laws relating to the criminal procedure the Code of Criminal procedure Act, 1973 was enacted. Similarly, the long title of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 is “An Act to define the law relating to the transfer of property by act of parties” which defines the object of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882.
Always try to relate every section, clause, and illustration with their purposes, it will help you to have a clear understanding of the law. Once the purpose of an Act is clear to you, you would be able to understand all the things very easily.
2. Read the interpretation/definition clause
Every Act provides an interpretation or definition clause at the starting of the Act, this interpretation clause or definition clause defines or explains some terms which are used in the Act. Most of the Bare Act section 2 contains definitions, for example, the Indian Contract Act, 1872 contains the definitions of some terms or words which are used in the Act and these particular terms shall be interpreted as Section 2 of explains.
Not all Acts provide a definition or interpretation clause in Section 2, some Acts may provide in other Sections, for example, Section 3 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 provides an interpretation clause in Section 3.
Sometimes there may be some words that have not been defined in the interpretation or definition clause, in such cases you will find that particular word’ meaning in the General Clauses Act, 1891.
3. Interpret literally
Which reading the Bare Act you should have to read the Bare Act as it is, literal interpretation is the first principle of interpreting a statute. The principle of literal interpretation is widely followed by the judges. Interpret literally simply means the Bare Act should be read as their plain and ordinary meaning while reading Bare Act doesn’t guess any possible meaning. Read the Bare Act as it is written.
4. Break sentences into parts and read
A long and complicated sentence is scary to read, sometimes Bare Acts contents some lengthy and complicated sentence which are very difficult to understand. In that case, break the sentences into the parts, read slowly with patience, and take pauses when you see the use of the comma. You cannot read Bare Act too fast, as it is not easy like reading novels or other books. You need the patience to read Bare Act and have a clear understanding of the law.
6. Give special attention to some terms
While reading Bare Acts you should have to give some special attention to some terms like “and”, “or”, “may”, “shall”, “should” etc. which reading you cannot take these terms casually, always give special attention to these terms.
7. The help of the Standard Textbook
For better understanding, you should take the help of the book or commentary.
8. Choosing the Edition of Bare Act
One of the Important points is that one should decide whether they prefer the diglot edition of the Bare Act or the English version. According to me, Diglot Bare Act should be preferred where on one side sections or articles are written in English, and on the other side sections or articles are written in Hindi. So that if a person could not understand some particular phrase in English he could refer to it in Hindi.
The language in bare acts is obscure, so one should read it multiple times to understand the authenticity of the subject matter. They can also break sentences as per their convenience.
There is always a conflict in the mind of freshers /Judicial Aspirants if they should read commentary books first or Bare Act. Reading commentary from books would be easier than reading bare acts. But law students should read Bare Act first and then they should interpret that section according to their understanding and after that, they should read commentary books or textbooks to check if they interpreted the given section correctly or not.
Also Read – How to Read Judgements Quickly?