Bare Acts are books which gives you the Sections, Rules and Regulations of any legislative enactment. For example: The Indian Penal Code (PC), The Civil Procedure Code, The Payment of Wages Act, The Factories Act, etc.
Bare Act is basically a dictionary of any section of a particular act.
It is the exact text of a particular enactment, as it was passed by the legislature. There will be no case laws, or any other explanations to the sections, apart from what the parliament or the state legislature has made.
Every law student must master the art of reading bare acts. Every statute contains hundreds of sections. Memorising all of them is a big challenge. It is next to impossible. Learning sections make you irritated, and you doubt your capability. Hold yourself back from doing this. Every problem has a solution. And what is that?
Here are the tips:
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.”
Choose the Edition of Bare Act
You should decide whether you prefer the diglot edition of the bare act or the English version. In diglot bare act, one side sections are written in Hindi, and on the other side, sections are written in English.
If could not understand some particular phrase in English you could refer to it in Hindi.
The language used in bare acts is difficult, so you should read it multiple times to understand the authenticity of the subject.
Break Sentence into Parts and Read
Many enactments contents are lengthy and complicated sentence which are very difficult to understand. In that case, you have to break the sentences into small parts and read slowly.
Also, make sure to take pauses when you see the use of the comma and any special character.
You can not read bare act too fast as it is not easy like reading novels. You need to read bare act slowly and have a clear understanding of the law.
Interpret Clauses literally
This can be done by:
- Looking at the words as it is.
- YOU are precluded from speculating or guess possible meaning.
- Stick to what bare act says.
- Don’t think what bare act should say.
At times, it becomes difficult to understand and interpret, use commentaries and text books for rescue.
Understanding the Purpose of the Enactment
For understanding the law deeply, one must understand the purpose of the law that has been enacted. It is very important to read the preamble and interpretation clause of the Act (bare act). This would help to know the basic objective of that act, which would help in understanding the act more clearly.
Basic terms or definitions of the act are generally provided in section 2 of the bare act, so one must go through that initially for more clarity. While reading particular section if a new word comes than firstly one should refer definition clause of that particular act and if the word is not defined there then law dictionary should be referred which is easily available on web sites.
Give Special Attention to Special Words
While reading bare acts, you should give special attention to some words like
- “thereto”, etc.
The whole meaning of the section is changed if you understood these words wrongly. So, you should focus more on these words.
Let’s understand these using following examples:
- AND- (Eg: Sign of applicant and Advocate is required)
- OR- (Eg: applicant or Advocate can sign the application)
- MAY- (Eg: Advocate may sign on behalf of Applicant)
- SHOULD (Eg: Advocate should sign on behalf of Applicant)
Write and learn
Write the section and article names in a notebook. Practice it multiple times during your law course. Slow and steady, you will have them engraved in your mind.
Reading the full bare act text repeatedly helps in remembering section numbers.
How to make notes for Bare Acts for Judiciary Exams?
Each one of your Preparation Plans for the Judicial Services Exam will vary. Therefore, here are few points to keep in mind while making notes for Bare Acts:
- Firstly, list out the topics to be covered in the subject.
- You can mark important terms in the topics that you have to study with high priority.
- For prelims, it is possible to study each topic present in the index. Hence, note down important topics to be studied or to be focused on the index itself.
- Use different colour pens for easy recognition of terminologies.
- You can also use abbreviations while preparing any topic.
- Use sticky notes or bookmark for noting down any important definitions, meanings, or terminology. This will help in studying topics easily and concentrate more on the important concepts.