Monday, 26 March 2012

Issues/Concepts in Hindu Law 2: Socio-legal classifications of law

This post will explore how Moore and Ehrlich's socio-legal understanding of law can  be applied to Hindu law.

Moore talks of law being a semi-autonomous field which is quite clear from the Hindu law case study. In pre-classical times, both Vedic gods and individuals were not completely autonomous they relied on each other, on rita and ancient customs to paint their daily lives with showing the semiautonomous nature of law. In the golden era of self-controlled order, this changed because now the law "dharma" could not be completely autonomous as it was dependent on circumstances, political and economic environment, the person's caste (varnasradharma) etc. In the anglo-hindu era there is further evidence for this, the state had to learn the customs of the people to make law somewhat realistic and this official law very slight it may be, but still affected how people practiced customs. Modern India today is the best example because it shows how the state is not completely autonomous although it may be sovereign as it had to base much of it on pee-existing customary laws. 

Ehrlich talks of a living law which is also quite evident because despite there being periods of no state or authority figures and when the British claimed authority there has been law that governed people (dharma) throughout all these periods and so it is quite clear that a living law does exist and you can't get a better example than this!

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