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Diya Arvind   17 February 2022

legal maxim

What scope does the maxim "Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pereat" has?


 1 Replies

Aarushi   17 February 2022

This maxim literally means “it is better for a thing to have effect than to be made void”. This basically means that when there are two interpretations for any statutes or rule, one which gives meaning to it, and the other which discards it. This maxim says that the former should be followed. In such cases, the Court should follow that interpretation of a statute which is constitutional rather than simply discarding it. The legislature forms any statute or law in order to bring about peace and harmony in the society and the intent of the legislature must be understood before discarding any statute. While using this maxim, the presumption is that the statute has been formed by the legislature by keeping all the constitutional provisions in mind and without exceeding their jurisdiction. The Court shall always give preference to that interpretation of the statute which adds more value to the words written, over such interpretations which reduce the value of the said statute. This maxim also says that such interpretations have to be followed which supplies a harmony between two statutes rather than those which leads to a conflict between two statutes. It must be noted here that the constitutionality of the statute or rule has to be kept in mind while applying this maxim.

 Mark Netto v. State of Kerela

In this case, the appellant was the manager of a school who was forced by the Diocese to admit girls into an all-boys school. When this matter was taken to the authority, it was discarded saying that it was in violation of Rule 12(3) of Chapter VI of the Kerela Education Rules, 1959, according to which girls can only be admitted into an all-boys school when there were no girls school in the area, and if such situation arises, proper facilities have to be provided to the girls who are admitted into the said school. When this matter was taken up by the Supreme Court, it was held that a wider interpretation of the rule will mean that it shall also be applied on institutions run and maintained by the minorities. This means that the rule will be in violation of Article 30 of our Constitution, which gives rights to all minorities to establish and maintain education institutions of their choice. Applying the maxim of Ut Res Magis Valeat Quam Pereat, the Apex Court held that Rule 12(3) of Chapter VI of the Kerela Education Rules, 1959 should be interpreted in a narrow manner and exclude the religion or language-based institutions under its ambit so as to not disturb its constitutionality. The Court observed that the Rule in its entirety is not discarded, just merely interpreted in a narrow manner. Thus, in the above-mentioned case, Rule 12(3) of Chapter VI of the Kerela Education Rules, 1959 was skipped and girls were allowed admission in the school run by the Christian minority.

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