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How to read Bare Act to understand the law

How to read Bare Act

To understand the laws it is very necessary to read the bare act, it is the exact text of a particular enactment by the legislature. The languages used in bare acts are often a bit difficult and confusing. Most students, teachers face difficulties to understand the law by reading the Bare Act. In this article, we will learn to read the Bare Act and to understand the 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

First of all, you have to understand the purpose and objects of that particular enactment. And thereafter you have to find why of that act means why that has been passed.
 For understanding the purpose and object of the act you have to read its long title. Almost in every Act, it 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.”

2. Index or Contents

After knowing the purpose and object of the Act you should see the index or contents of the Act.

3. Chapters or Parts

In the index section of the Act, you will the Chapters scheme or part of the Act in which the sections are provided related to the particular matter like; Part 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1980 deals ‘suits in general’ and chapter 3 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 deals with the ‘Parties to Notes, Bills and Cheque’. By reading this a clear image about the matter of the Act will become in your mind, and it will help you to understand the Bare Act.

4.  Read the interpretation/definition clause

In every Act, there is an interpretation or definition clause at the beginning of the Act. This section of the Bare Act defines or explains some terms which are used in the Act. In most of the Bare Act Section 2 contains definitions, for example, the Indian Contract Act, 1872, the Code of Civil Procedure, etc.
There are many cases where some terms or words which have not been defined in the interpretation or definition clause; in that case, we have to go through the General Clauses Act, 1891 to understand these terms. Besides these two, if you did not find such term or word which are used in any section and you don’t know the meaning of the term then you should take help from the Legal dictionaries, not from the normal dictionaries, because in normal dictionaries meaning of that term may be different.

5. Sections

While reading the sections you should follow the following way:-

i. Reading

First of all, you should read the section just read.

ii. Keyword

After reading the sections you should mark the important keyword in the section with the help of the highlighter or pen etc.

iii. Break sentences into parts and read

A long and complicated sentence is scary to read; sometimes Bare Acts have some long and complex sentences that are very difficult to understand. In that case, break the sentences into the parts, read slowly, and take pauses when you see the use of a comma. You cannot read or understand the Act very fast, because it is not like reading novels or other books. You need to be patient for reading and having a clear understanding of the Bare Act.

iv. Give special attention to some terms

When reading bare acts you should pay special attention to certain terms such as  “and”, “or”, “may”, “shall”, etc.

v. Interpretation

With reading the Bare Act you should have to read the Bare Act as it is. 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.

vi. Books and commentary

For a better understanding, you should take the help of the book or commentary.

vii. Use flags for important matters or write in the bare act

Where you find something important in the books then you should write that important matter in the Bare Act or on the flags or sticky notes. So that at the time of revision it may help you.

viii. Interlinking of the sections

For a better understanding of the sections, you should interlink the sections, which are related to each other.

6. Explain to yourself


Stories help you to remember the section easily and for the long term. So you can make stories of the section in your way to remember the sections.


Revision is the most important part to remember a thing for the long term. Science says that to remember a thing for a long time you have to revise it.


These are some tips and ways that will help you to read and understand the Bare Act in an easy way. These tips are base on the experience of the students and some of them are my personal.

Read Also: Kerala PSC 2023: Notification, Application Form, Eligibility, Syllabus, Result

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