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Indian Legal System: An Enquiry

Edited by: Mahendra Pal Singh

ISBN13: 9780199489879
Published: March 2019
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £35.99

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Legal, anthropological, and historical literature acknowledges the undisputed presence of multiple legal traditions in India. However, the existence of uniform laws applicable to all citizens, questions plurality at some levels. The existence of multiple non-state legal traditions alongside a proclaimed formal state legal system certainly poses a challenge to the common law identity of the Indian legal system. It is historically acknowledged that colonialism and law share a reciprocal relationship, where law was used for the expansion of colonial rule, and was not an accurate reflection of the needs of society. When common law was introduced in India by the British to better integrate the Indian legal system, they did not refer to the prevailing legal practices of the time. Neither was it an exact appropriation of common law as understood in England. The book argues that this is the underlying cause for the gap between the state legal system and traditional community practices. This is arguably the reason behind preference for non-state legal practices among several communities in India, despite the existence of a formal state legal system. The central theme of the book is that legal systems cannot be seen or studied in isolation of the cultures of groups whose affairs they regulate.

Other Jurisdictions , India
Foreword by Upendra Baxi
List of Statutes (Chronological)
List of Cases (In order of appearance)
List of Tables (In order of appearance)
Summary of Arguments

1. Tracing the History of Legal System in India
2. Historical & Contemporary Deviations from the State Legal System in India
3. Examples of Alternate Legal Systems in India
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III: State Profiles Indicating Reliance on Traditional, Non-State Legal Systems
Index of Cases Illustrating Judicial Engagement with Customary Law in India