The Principle, Rule, Doctrine of Implied Repeal

It is well settled that in a case where there is a repealing clause to a particular Act, it is a case of express repeal, but in a case where doctrine of implied repeal is to be applied, the matter will have to be determined by taking into account the exact meaning and scope of the words used in the repealing clause. It is equally well settled that the implied repeal is not readily inferred and the mere provision of an additional remedy by a new Act does not take away an existing remedy. While applying the principle of implied repeal, one has to see whether apparently inconsistent provisions have been repealed and re-enacted.

The implied repeal of an earlier law can be inferred only where there is enactment of a later law which has the power to override the earlier law and is totally inconsistent with the earlier law and the two laws cannot stand together. If the later law is not capable of taking the place of the earlier law, and for some reason cannot be implemented, the earlier law would continue to operate. To such a case, the rule of implied repeal may result in a vacuum which the law making authority may not have intended.

There is a presumption against repeal by implication. The reason for the presumption is that the legislature while enacting a law has complete knowledge of the existing laws on the subject matter and, therefore, when it is not providing a repealing provision, it gives out an intention not to repeal the existing legislation. If by any fair interpretation, both the statutes can stand together, there will be no implied repeal and the Court should lean against the implied repeal.”

Hon’ble Justice M.Y. Eqbal , Lal Shah Baba Dargah Trust v. Magnum Developers, [Civil Appeal No. 14565 of 2015].

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