Table of Contents in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia

India in Asia

According to the work “Guide to Foreign and International Citations”, by the Journal of International Law and Politics (New York University School of Law):

India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. India is comprised of 28
states and 7 union territories. The official languages of India are Hindi and English. In addition,
eighteen constitutionally recognized national languages are spoken in the various states and

India’s Constitution was adopted on January 26, 1950. Executive power is vested in the
Government, which exercises its executive and administrative powers in the name of the
President. The President’s duties, however, are primarily ceremonial. In reality, executive
power is exercised by the Council of Ministers, which is led by the Prime Minister. The
President and Vice President are elected by a special electoral college to staggered, five-year
terms. The Prime Minister is nominated by legislators of the political party or coalition
commanding a parliamentary majority and appointed by the President. Subordinate ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Legislative power is vested in a bicameral parliament, consisting of the Council of States
(Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha). The Council of Ministers is responsible
to the House of the People. 233 members of the Council of States are elected by the state and
union territory legislatures; twelve members are appointed by the President. Members of the
Council of States serve six-year terms; one-third of the members are elected every two years.
543 members of the House of the People are directly elected by the people; two members are
appointed. All members serve five-year terms.

Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, high courts, and people’s courts (Lok
adalats). The Supreme Court is the court of final appeal. It consists of a chief justice and
twenty-five associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the President on the advice of the
Prime Minister.

The high courts head each state’s judicial administration. Each state is divided into
judicial districts presided over by a district and sessions judge, who is the highest judicial
authority in a district. Below him or her, there are courts of civil jurisdiction, known in different
states as, inter alia, munsifs, sub-judges, or civil judges. The criminal courts consist of a chief
judicial magistrate and judicial magistrates of first and second class. Family law questions are
dealt with according to the religious affiliation of the parties.

Many state legislatures are bicameral, patterned after the national Parliament. The states’
Chief Ministers are responsible to the legislatures in the same way the Prime Minister is
responsible to Parliament. Each state also has a presidentially appointed Governor, who may
assume certain broad powers when directed by the central government.

History of India

The following description of India may be usefull here: The Indian subcontinent includes what are now Bangladesh and Pakistan. These countries were created in 1947 but had previously long been part of what was called ‘India’, including the British colony of India.

Indian Online Legal Resources

See also more Indian Online Legal Resources here.


Laws and Legislation

  • India Code (Ministry of Law and Justice): Allows searching by Short Title/Act Year /Act No./Full Text and includes a Chronological table for Status of an Act. See also section on Parliamentary Bills and Legislative Bills.
  • Indlaw is part of the Indianlawonline project which was launched in April 1997 as a collaborative exercise between professionals and academicians based in U.K. and in India to build an electronic legal library. This database requires subscription but searching is free.
  • Manupatra is a comprehensive database of Indian law. See below for subscription databases.
  • Indian Bare Acts (alphabetical listing, full text on a variety of subjects) (Helplinelaw).
  • ( India Legal Information Institute)Collection of legal information about India including legislation and judgments.

Laws by Subject


  • List of Courts, Tribunals and Case Law (WorldLII).
  • JUDIS. This is a series of free, searchable internet databases of decisions including the Supreme Court of India (1950-), the High Court of Delhi, Andhara Pardesh, Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir. Searchable by Petitioner or Respondent’s Name, Judge Name, Case Number, Text/Phrase, Act, or Head Notes. Note that the more recent cases from the Supreme Court do not have headnotes.
  • Lexis also now has Supreme Court of India, combined, reported and unreported cases from 1999 onward. (INDCAS, LRPTIN, LRINDU).
  • Supreme Court of India website. Also includes links to other India court websites. Also includes other court-related databases including Cause list, Daily Orders, INDIACODE and COURTNIC (Supreme Court case status information). Also includes links tolower court websites.


Subscription Databases:

  • Title: Indlaw
    Web Address:
    Who Can Access: Requires subscription for text, but free searching is available (HLS does not currently subscribe) See:
    Provider: Indlaw
    Description: Indlaw’s legal databases include: Case Law, Legislation, Rules, Notifications, Circulars, Trade Notices, Practice Directions, Forms, Reports and Proceedings, FAQs, Indlaw Articles, News and Press Notes.
  • Title: Manupatra
    Web Address:
    Who Can Access: Harvard ID holders
    Where to Access: Any Law Library terminal
    How to Access: Access via password from ILS Reference Desk.
    Provider: Manupatra Information Solutions Pvt.Ltd.
    Description: Comprehensive database of Indian law. Includes cases and bare acts (federal and selected states), tribunal and commission orders, bills in parliament and ordinances, notifications and circulars, and more, including some secondary sources. See:


  • Guide to Indian Laws. Provides comprehensive information on Indian legal system and links to legal resources. Maintained by V. Ramakrishnan (LLRX)
  • India The Asian Development Bank provides a number of fact sheets, country reports, project summaries including legal initiatives and more. (Asian Development Bank).

Note: We linked the resources to in an effort to decrease the number of broken links cited.

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