Law of India

Law of India refers to the system of law which presently operates in India. It is largely based on English common law because of the long period of British colonial influence during the British Raj period. Much of contemporary Indian law shows substantial European and American influence. Various acts and ordinances first introduced by the British are still in effect in their modified forms today. During the drafting of the Indian Constitution, laws from Ireland, the United States, Britain, and France were all synthesized to get a refined set of Indian laws, as it currently stands. Indian laws also adhere to the United Nations guidelines on human rights law and the environmental law. Certain international trade laws, such as those on intellectual property, are also enforced in India.

Indian civil law is complex, with each religion having its own specific laws which they adhere to. In most states, registering of marriages and divorces is not compulsory. There are separate laws governing Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and followers of other religions. The exception to this rule is in the state of Goa, where a Portuguese uniform civil code is in place, in which all religions have a common law regarding marriages, divorces and adoption.

History of Indian law

Ancient India represented a distinct tradition of law, and had an historically independent school of legal theory and practice. The "Arthashastra", dating from 400 BC and the "Manusmriti", from 100 AD, were influential treatises in India, texts that were considered authoritative legal guidance.Glenn, "Legal Traditions of the World", 255] Manu's central philosophy was tolerance and pluralism, and was cited across Southeast Asia.Glenn, "Legal Traditions of the World", 276] Before the Islamic conquest India never became a really centralised political entity but indulged in widespread decentralisation. Inter-State relations in the pre-Islamic period resulted in clear-cut rules of warfare of a high humanitarian standard, in rules of neutrality, of treaty lam, of customary law embodied in religious charters, in exchange of embassies of a temporary or semipermanent character. [Viswanatha, S.T., "International Law in Ancient India", 1925]

Early in this period, which finally culminated in the creation of the Mauryan and Gupta Empire, relations with ancient Greece and Rome were not infrequent. The appearance of similar fundamental institutions of international law in various parts of the world show that they are inherent in international society, irrespective of culture and tradition. [Alexander, C.H., "International Law in India", The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 3. (Jul., 1952), pp. 289-300, ISSN 00205893.]

These Hindu traditions, along with Islamic law, was supplanted by the common law when India became part of the British Empire.Glenn, "Legal Traditions of the World", 273]

Constitutional and administrative law

Each state has the freedom to drafts it own laws on subjects which are considered state subjects. Laws passed by Parliament of India and other pre-existing central laws on subjects which are considered central subjects are binding on all citizens of each state. Each state has its own laws for taxation rates.

Criminal law

Indian Penal Code formulated by the British during the British Raj in 1860, forms the backbone of criminal law in India. Jury trials were abolished by the government in 1960 on the grounds they would be susceptible to media and public influence. This decision was based on an 8-1 acquittal of Kawas Nanavati in "K. M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra", which was overturned by higher courts.

Capital punishment in India is legal but rarely used. The last execution was conducted in 2004, when Dhananjoy Chatterjee was hanged for the rape and murder of a 14-year old girl. Homosexuality in India is criminal offense, though never prosecuted, under a Victorian-era criminal statute which is currently facing a constitutional challenge at the Delhi High Court.

Contract law

The main contract law in India is codified in the Indian Contract Act which came into effect on September 1, 1872 and extends to whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It governs entering into contract, execution of contract, and the effects of breach of contract.

Tort law

Development of constitutional tort began in India in the early 1980s.cite web |url=|title=Tort Law in India|author=Dr. Usha Ramachandran|format=PDF] It influenced the direction tort law in India took during the 1990s. In recognizing state liability, constitutional tort deviates from established norms in tort law. This covers custodial deaths, police atrocities, encounter killings, illegal detention and disappearances.

Property law

Trust law

Trust law in India is mainly codified in the Indian Trusts Act of 1882 which came into force on March 1, 1882. It extends to the whole of India except for the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Family law

Family laws in India are different for different religions and there is no uniform civil code.

Hindu Law

As far as Hindus are concerned there is a specific branch of law known as Hindu Law. Though the attempt made by the first parliament after independence did not succeed in bringing forth a Hindu Code comprising the entire field of Hindu family law, laws could be enacted touching upon all the major areas affecting family life among Hindus in India.Fact|date=July 2008

Muslim law

Indian Muslims' personal status laws are largely based on Sharia. The development of the law is largely on the basis of judicial precedents. The contribution of Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer in the matter of interpretation of the statutory as well as personal law is significant.

Christian Law

As for Christians, there is a distinct branch of law known as Christian Law which is mostly based on specific statutes.

Christian law of Succession and Divorce in India have undergone changes in recent years. The Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act of 2001 has brought in considerable changes in the grounds available for divorce. By now Christian law in India has emerged as a separate branch of law.It covers the entire spectrum of family law so far as it concerns Christians in India. Christian law, to a great extent is based on English law but there are laws that originated on the strength of customary practices and precedents.

Christian family law has now distinct sub branches like laws on marriage, divorce,restitution, judicial separation, succession, adoption, guardianship,maintenance, custody of minor children and relevance of canon law and all that regulates familial relationship.

General Law

After independence, some efforts were made to modernise Indian family law, the most recent being the Domestic Violence Act (2005). It is significant because for the first time the term ‘domestic violence’ has been widened in meaning and scope from the culture specific restriction of ‘dowry deaths’ and penal provisions to positive civil rights of protection and injunction. Some other areas in which reform has occurred recently are custody laws, guardianship laws, adoption laws, etc.

Nationality law

Nationality law or citizenship law is mainly codified in the constitution of India and the Citizenship Act of 1955. Although the Constitution of India bars multiple citizenship, the Parliament of India passed on January 7, 2004, a law creating a new form of very limited dual nationality called "overseas citizenship of India". Overseas citizens of India will not enjoy any form of political rights or participation in the government, however, and there are no plans to issue to overseas citizens any form of Indian passport.

Law enforcement

India has a multitude of law enforcement agencies. All agencies are part of the Internal Affairs Ministry (Home Ministry). At the very basic level is the local police which is under state jurisdiction.

ee also

*Christian Law of Succession in India
*Christian Law of Divorce in India
*Christian Law of Guardianship in India
*Christian Law of Marriage in India
*BMW case: Sanjeev Nanda
*Best Bakery Case
*Central Bureau of Investigation
*Graham Staines
*Immoral Traffic in Persons Act
*Indian Penal Code
*Jessica Lal
*Land Acquisition Act
*Law enforcement in India
*Legal systems of the world
*Priyadarshini Mattoo
*Supreme Court of India



*cite book|title=Legal Traditions of the World|first=H. Patrick|last=Glenn|year=2000|isbn=0198765754|publisher=Oxford University Press

External links

* [ Indian Law Experts - Provide Legal Advice]
* [ Top Legal Solutions, Second Opinions, Litigation Support,Properties Title Investigations, Successful Legal Notices Online consultancy, international law, NRI, indian law]
* [ Lawyersclubindia - An interactive Platform for Lawyers and General Public]
* [ India International Law Firm [I.I.L.F.] Legal Forums - Free legal Tips, Online Consultancy]
* [ Indian Kanoon - Search engine for Indian laws and court judgments]
* [ Latest in Indian legal news]
* [ News and views from the Indian Supreme Court]
* [ Indian Supreme Court Cases / Judgments / Case Law / Legislation]
* [ India legislative resources]
* [ AdvocateKhoj - An online collection of legal resources]
* [ Indian Law] — HelpLineLaw
* [ Human Rights Law in India - Blog]
* [ Law and other things - Blog]
* [ Manupatra - online legal resource]
* [ News Brief] on the execution of Dhananjoy Chatterjee.

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