SOURCES OF HINDU LAW

INTRODUCTION

It is said that Hindu Law is a Divine Law and had been preached by the God through the Vedas to the people. Hindu law is also considered to be the most ancient and prolific law in the world. The proof of its existence is in every phase . Hindu is a common term; it denotes all those persons who profess Hindu Religion either by birth or by conversion to Hindu faith. It is both the instrument and the rhetoric by which most familiar, repeated,  of human acts are first placed in a system or structure larger than individual. The best way to know the depth and deep knowledge of any system of law is to study thoroughly the sources of the law.

Hindu law is made up of various text and scriptures, the growth of Hindu law was both natural and sometimes helped by the legislation that was enacted during the British period. Sources of Hindu law can be divided into ancient sources and modern sources. Hindu law has its own place in the history as well as in the modern era . Originally Hindu law was established  established 6000 years ago in our country and furthermore it attracts.

 The need of the people gets fulfilled. The concept was initiated for the welfare of the people. There are two sources of Hindu law , ancient sources and modern sources. Shrutis , Smritis , Commentaries and Digests. The modern sources includes judicial decisions and legislation .Thus, it is very essential to know more about the various aspects of Hindu law.

ANCIENT SOURCES OF HINDU LAW

Hindu civilization is considered as one of the ancient civilization. Tracing the original source of Hindu law is difficult since it means going back to the point of time in the past when written material was unavailable and most of the communication was oral. Earlier the law, religion and morality were referred to as Dharma.  

SHRUTI

Shruti means something which has been heard. The word is derived from “Shru” which means to ‘hear’. In theory, it is considered as a supreme and paramount source of Hindu law and is believed the language of gods through the sages.

It is believed that sages have reached such a height of spirituality that they were informed about Vedas by some divine order. Thus shrutis include 4 Vedas – Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda, Atharvaveda along with their brahmins. Brahmins are considered as a guide to Vedas. Some people believe that Vedas contain laws and codes of conduct while others believe that laws have to be inferred from Vedas. 

SMRITI

The word Smriti has been derived from ‘smriti’ which means ‘to remember’. Technically smrities mean those works which are created by the virtue of memory of sages. The basis of smrities is shruties. Smrities can be referred to as a step ahead of smrities.

There are two types of smrities viz Dharamsutras and Dharamshastras. There is a very thin line of difference between the two. The basic difference lies in the fact that dharamsutras are written in the form of prose, in short maxims while Dharamshastras are written in the form of shlokas(poetry).

There are many Smriti writers and it is impossible to determine how many authors are there of smrities. However, there are some notable Smriti writers, enumerated by yajanvalkya are Manu, Attri, Vishnu, Harita, Yama, katyana, Brihaspati, Parashar, Vyas, etc. 

DIGESTS AND COMMENTARIES

Digests (Nibandhs) and Commentaries (Tika) covered a period over thousand years from the 7th century to 1800 A.D. At first, most of the commentaries were written on the Smritis; but later, the works were within the nature of digests containing a synthesis of the varied contradictions.

The work which is finished to elucidate the actual smriti is termed as commentary. A number of the commentaries were Mitakshara, Manubhashya, and Manutika. The foremost important digest is that the Jimutvahan’s Dayabhaga which is applicable within the areas of Bengal and Orissa.

MODERN SOURCES OF HINDU LAW

After the arrival of British many changes were brought in the personal laws of Hindus and many legislations were also passed, the modern sources of Hindu Law the doctrine of justice equity good consciousness, legislation, and precedents.

LEGISLATION

Legislation is one of the most crucial source of Hindu law. It is the reflection of idealogy and practised of ancient hindu society. It determines the validity of any customary hindu rituals whichever can be obsolete in modern society. This is the reason which invites the upbringing of new legislation that would alleviate the irregularities abd malfunctioning involved in hindu society. It makes a clarian call for reforming the present hindu society and annihilating the discrimination engrossed in our Hindu society. 

Few examples of important Statutes are The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, etc.  They have had much impact on the transformation of Hindu society.

JUSTICE, EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE

According to the principle of justice, equity and good conscience it is postulated that , the court can provide appropriate relief to the concerned party on the ground of reasonableness and fair play. True justice can only be attained through Equity and good conscience. This concept of equity is very similar to the concept of natural law in ancient Hindu jurisprudence. So, whenever a conflict arises between the natural and the codified law, the natural law will prevail and will guide our actions as modern sources of Hindu law. 

PRECEDENT AS SOURCE OF HINDU LAW

The doctrine of precedents makes the decisions of courts, usually binding on the subordinate courts in cases in which similar or identical question of law raised before the court. The great value of the doctrine of precedents is that it provides certainty. In Hindu law, precedent usually refers to the validity of any hindu rituals on which there is substantial question of law. It challenges the constitutionality of discriminatory hindu practises.

CONCLUSION

It is important to study the sources of law because in every personal legal system only that rule is law which has place in its sources. A rule not laid down or not recognized in the sources is not a rule in that legal system. It can be considered that the law of hindu law is the most ancient and impressive laws in the whole world. Law of Hindu is about 6000-year-old. The school of Hinduism promotes the Hindu law and develop the Hindu law from its core of the roots. Thus, both ancient snd modern sources of hindu law would act as a guiding force to give a diversified structure to the legal system of the whole world.

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