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What is doctrine of harmonious construction?

According to this doctrine, a provision of the statute should not be interpreted or construed in isolation but as a whole, so as to remove any inconsistency or repugnancy. The courts must avoid a clash on contradicting provisions and they must construe the opposing provisions so as to harmonize them. When the court is unable to reconcile the differences between opposing provisions, the courts must interpret them in such a manner that both the opposing provisions are given effect as much as possible.

The objective of harmonious construction:

  • The objective of harmonious construction is to avoid any confrontation between two enacting provisions of a statute and to construe the provisions in such a way so that the harmonize. The basis of this rule is that the Legislature never envisages to provide two conflicting provisions in a statute, for the reason that it amounts to self-contradiction.
  • The real legislative intent, that we try to discover in the process of interpretation cannot be to provide for something in one provision and deny the same in subsequent one. Hence, even if an inconsistency is found, the same should be considered to be unintentional and as such, is required to be cured by way of harmonious construction.

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