What are the Hindu Personal Laws and Muslim Personal Laws

“Hindu Personal Laws” refer to the Hindu laws which are functional throughout India’s colonial period, from the ‘Anglo-Hindu Regulation’ to the ‘Post-independence Contemporary Hindu Regulation’. There was no one canon administering law for India’s different groups, nor was there a Pope or a Shankaracharya whose Commandments could be applied in the country when the British arrived. Due to the differences in the perspectives laid down by the Pandits on the similar subject, the British began teaching the Indians for their own legal amenity, which led to the establishment of a Sanskrit College in Banaras and Calcutta to assist them in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the Indian legal system. “It was here that the Hindu Personal Law began, most notably in 1772 when the then Governor-General of Bengal Warren Hastings commissioned 10 Bengali Brahmin Pandits to write a compilation of Hindu scripture law in four primary civil matters: marriage, divorce, inheritance, and succession.”[1] The Hindu Personal Laws experienced considerable revisions through time, resulting in social and political upheavals across India.

In the modern era, some of the set of rules that govern the Hindus are “Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 and Hindu Succession Act, 1956”[2]. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 was enacted to protect the rights of Hindu brides and grooms who are bonded by the sacred bond of marriage in any ceremony. The type of ceremony is not defined by the law because a man or a woman can perform this religious act in a variety of ways. After multiple incidents of both men and women being scared or humiliated as a result of a fraud case in the name of marriage, this statute was proposed. “Any Hindu, Jain, Sikh, or Buddhist who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi, or Jew who is not governed by another law is bound by this act”[3]

As a part of the Hindu Code Bills, the “Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act” was enacted in 1956. The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act codifies the requirements for Hindu adults adopting children and Hindu males maintaining their spouse and parents. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 deals with the laws of succession and collates regulations related to intestate or when a person dies without a will.

The Shariat is the foundation of “Muslim Personal Law.” The Shariat can be defined as “the provisions of the Quran as well as Prophet Mohammad’s teachings and practices.” Before Islam was presented to Arabia as a faith, the region had an ethnic societal structure. What was the Law was infact chosen by the tribe as a whole, and the rules were unwritten. These rules had evolved over time as society has realized the necessity for reorganization. By the 7th century, the Muslim community in Medina had recognized itself and had begun to extend to the neighbouring areas. The God’s will, as noted in the Quran as Muhammad’s revelations, came to surpass all ethnic customs with the creation of Islam. Islamic society is governed by the Quran’s writings, as well as unwritten customs known as the ‘Shariat’. 

In 1937, an Act[4] was created with the goal of establishing an Islamic legal code for the Indian followers of Islam. The Britishers, who dominated India at the time, attempted to guarantee that the native citizens were governed conferring to their own traditions. When it came to the distinction between laws enacted for Hindus and those enacted for Muslims, they stated that in the case of Hindus, “clear proof of usage will outweigh the textual content of the law.” The writings in the Quran, on the other hand, would be of paramount importance to Muslims. The Shariat Application Act, which has been in effect since 1937, regulates important aspects of the Muslims’ social life such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and family relations. The Act states that the government should not intervene in personal disputes.[5]

  [1] “Anchit Bhandari & Urvashi Jaswani, “A Critical Analysis of Gender Inequality in The Existing Legislation Relating to Property Rights in India: A Comparative Study of Hindu And Muslim Law”, MANUPATRA (April 12, 2021, 10:25 PM).” http://docs.manupatra.in/newsline/articles/Upload/06EF3D18-696B-4E5F-A61E-80646EC0E664.pdf

[2]Mohan Rao Bolla, Daughters’ Property Rights Under the Hindu Succession Act, 9 IUP LAW REVIEW, 7 (2019).

[3] Supra note 1.

[4] The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937.

[5] Adrija Roychowdhury, Shariat and Muslim Personal Law, INDIAN EXPRESS (Aug 22,2017). https://indianexpress.com/article/research/shariat-muslim-personal-law-sharia-history-shayara-bano-shah-bano-triple-talaq-personal-laws-religious-laws-uniform-civil-code-2784081/.

Aishwarya Says:

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