Substantive law refers to how facts of each case are handled and how to penalize or ascertain damages in each case. Whereas, procedural law refers to the different processes through which a case proceeds. Substantive laws define the legal relationship between different individuals, or between individuals and the State. Procedural laws define the rules with which substantive laws may be enforced.

Substantive part of law establishes the rights, duties and liabilities of individuals. Procedural law establishes the methods, practices and ways in which a court proceeding takes place. Substantive law consists of written statutory rules passed by legislature that govern how people behave, They also define our rights and responsibilities as citizens, on the other hand, Procedural law governs the mechanics of how a legal case flows, including steps and processes of a case, it adheres to due process. For instance, determining what facts constitute a crime is a matter of substantive law whereas determining which Court has the jurisdiction to try the matter is a matter of procedural law.

In the case of Commissioner of Wealth Tax, Meerut vs. Sharvan Kumar Swarup & Sons, the distinction between Substantive and Procedural Laws was made clear. “As a General Rule, laws which fix duties, establish rights and responsibilities among & for persons natural or otherwise are “Substantive laws”, while those which merely prescribe the manner in which such rights & responsibilities may be exercised & enforced in a Court are ‘Procedural Laws’.”

In the case of Thirumalai Chemicals Ltd. vs. Union of India and others, the Supreme Court has held that all those laws which affect the substantive and vested rights of the parties have to be taken as substantive law, whereas any provision of law dealing with the form of the trial, mechanism of the trial or procedure thereof, has to be treated as procedural in nature.

According to Salmond, the law of procedure may be defined as that branch of the law which governs the process of litigation. It includes all legal proceedings whether civil or criminal. All the residue is substantive law, it relates not to the process of litigation but to its purpose and subject matter. Substantive law deals with the ends which the administration of justice seeks while Procedural laws primarily deal with the means and instruments by which those ends can be achieved. Substantive law relates to matters outside the Courts but procedural laws deal completely with matters inside courts.

Substantive and Procedural Laws complement each other. One without the other isn’t of much value therefore, both are essential for the delivery of justice. In Saiyad Mohammad Bakar El-Edroos vs Abdulhabib Hasan Arab And Ors, Justice A.P. Misra held that, “A procedural law is always in aid of justice, not in contradiction or to defeat the very object which is sought to be achieved. A procedural law is always subservient to the substantive law. Nothing can be given by a procedural law what is not sought to be given by a substantive law and nothing can be taken away be the procedural law what is given by the substantive law.” Procedural law ensures the enforcement of substantive law. Both substantive and procedural laws exist in civil as well as criminal laws.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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