What does the term Month in Statutes Mean?

General Clauses Act defines the term month

The word month has been defined in Section 3 (35) of the General Clauses Act, and it “shall mean a month reckoned according to the British calendar”.

SC interprets it based on Halsbury’s Law

In Rameshchandra Ambalal Joshi v State of Gujarat & Anr, the Supreme Court of India (SC) discusses how to calculate the word month appears in legal provisions.

The Halsbury’s Law of England, Vol. 37, 3rd Edn., Paragraph 143 at Pages 83-84 provides for calculation of a calendar month:

“143. Calendar month running from arbitrary date. When the period prescribed is a calendar month running from any arbitrary date the period expires with the day in the succeeding month immediately preceding the day corresponding to the date upon which the period starts; save that, if the period starts at the end of a calendar month which contains more days than the next succeeding month, the period expires at the end of the latter month.”

The SC by drawing a conclusion from the above-mentioned authoritative document, opined that the use of word “from” in Section 138(a) of Negotiable Instruments Act (NI Act) requires exclusion of the first day on which the cheque was drawn and inclusion of the last day within which such act needs to be done.

In other words, six months would expire one day prior to the date in the corresponding month and in case no such day falls, the last day of the immediate previous month.


Hence, for all purposes, the date on which the cheque was drawn, i.e., 31.12.2005 will be excluded and the period of six months will be reckoned from the next day i.e. from 1.1.2006; meaning thereby that according to the British calendar, the period of six months will expire at the end of the 30th day of June, 2006.


  1. Rameshchandra Ambalal Joshi v State of Gujarat & Anr
  2. The general Clauses Act, 1897