Indian Legal System

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Table of Contents in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia

Indian Legal System in Asia

Legal Research in India: a Guide for Lawyers

In a globalized world, lawyers outside India may come into contact with Indian law, Indian lawyers or Indian clients, and the last would be better served when their lawyers have an understanding of the essential characteristics and aspects of the Indian legal system. Likewise, in researching Indian law, it is important for non-Indian lawyers not to limit their inquiry to their country sources. In addition, instead of looking for precedents, in India lawyers browse first the provisions of the corresponding legislation for an appropriate legal principle applied to the case or Indian law problem.

Any serious legal issue involving India must require consultation with a lawyer trained and licensed in India. International materials and resources, like this Encyclopedia, however, may provide some familiarity with the basic concepts of the Indian law, a solid starting point and new perspectives and solutions that are not apparent, sometimes, from within a non-Indian legal tradition. Their study may help the non-Indian lawyer to determine the general nature of a problem, and can facilitate a better understanding with the Indian colleague who may be called in to assist.

Where to Start

General Information about India and their Legal Tradition

India and their People

Read about India and their People here.

Historical Background of India

Overview of the history of India.

Legal Education

Offering a summary of the legal education, including law schools , in India.

Development of Indian Law

Report on the development of the law in India.

Structures of Indian Law

It offers a description of the structures of the law in India.

Sources of the Indian Law

Summary of the sources of Law in India.

Historical Background

More about the history of the Indian law here.

Enacted Law in India

Read more about the legislation in India.

  • The Indian Constitution

Learn more about the Constitution of India.

  • India Codes and Statutes

Survey of Indian Codes and Statutes.

  • India Statutory Decrees

Outline of the India Statutory Decrees.

  • India Regulations

Scope of the Regulations enacted in India.

  • India By-Laws

Observation about the By-Laws in existence in India.

Customary Law

Learn more about the customary law of India.

Case Law as a Source of Law

Analysis of the Case Law in India.

Precedents in India

Evaluation of the role of Precedents in the Indian legal system.

Doctrine in India

Review of the legal Doctrine in India.

International sources of law

See more about the international sources of law in India and Asia, including International Treaties.

The Indian Government System

Study of the Government system in existence in India.

Indian Constitutional Structure

Overview of the Constitutional Structure in India.

Historical Background

Read more about the history of the Government System of the country.

General Characteristics of the Constitution

Constitution of India: the main features.

Human Rights in India

Scope of the Civil and Human rights in the country.

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch proposes laws. Find a description of the Legislative Power in India here.

Structure of the Indian Legislative Branch

Observation of the structure of the legislative power in India.

Functions and Powers

See more about the role of the legislative power in India here.

Legislative Process

Read how the Indian legislative procedures work here.

Supervision of the Executive

Learn how the legislative branch supervises the executive branch.

Executive Branch

The executive power proposes laws. Read more.

Head of State in India

The head of state of India is the formal head of the executive, legislature and judiciary of India.

Head of Government in India

The head of government in India is the Prime Minister of India, the political leader of the government of India.

Indian Council of Ministers

See information about the Cabinet Ministers of India here.

Indian Local Governments

Review of the local government powers in India. See the definition of local rule here.

Local Organizations of Central Administration

The central administration consists of a number of ministries and other organizations, including local ones. Various departments, offices and divisions are established in each ministry in India. See the definition of centralization here.

Indian Municipalities

Outlook of the cities, towns, villages and other communities, including municipal courts (when applicable), and their legal authority in India.

Judiciary Branch

The judiciary power interprets and applies laws. Find here a review of the Judicial System in India.

Main Features of the Judiciary

Read the most important characteristics of the Judiciary system in India here.

India Judicial Structure

Report of the Court Organization and Jurisdiction in India.
The Courts in India may be divided into:

  • High Courts

Description of the functioning of high courts in India.

  • Lower Courts

Summary of the roles of courts of lesser rank.


Information about rules that influence sentencing in India.

Participants in the Administration of Justice

Survey about the players in the Administration of Justice in India and other countries.


Information about the impartial administration of justice, the independence and status of the judiciary and other issues related to Judges in India.

Public Prosecutors

The role of those government officials who represent, in India, legal authorities (often prosecuting criminal actions in India and Asia).

The practice of law

More about the practice of law in India and Asia.

The legal professions

Outline of the legal professions in India and Asia.

Practitioners (Lawyers and others)

Learn about the legal role of practitioners, specially lawyers.

Notary-Public in India

Overview about Public Notaries practising in India.

Court reporter – Clerks

Overview of Court reporters and Clerks in Indian and Asian courthouses.

Civil Law Procedure

Outlook of the main features of the indian civil process, including:

Pretrial Proceedings in India

Information about what pretrial proceedings consist of.

The Trial in India

Review of the judicial examinations in civil or criminal actions in India.

Civil Litigation

Overview of the steps of litigation in India, the litigator’s role and the types of civil litigation in the country here.


Evidence law outline in India.

The Judgment

Outlook of the tribunal decisions in India. For Judgments which are of significance as legal precedents on points of law in India, see precedents.

The Effect of the Judgment

Overview of effects and recognition of a valid judgment delivered by a court of competent jurisdiction in India.

Legal Remedies in India

Enforcement of a legal right ordered by the court. See also the Judicial Relief definition.

Appeals – Judicial Review

Description of the Appeals process and the Judicial Review process of challenging the lawfulness of decisions in India.

Criminal Law Procedure

Observation of the Criminal Process.

The Investigation of Crime

Scope of the investigation of crimes:

The Prosecution of Crime

Crime Prosecution.

Criminal Trials in India

Laws and rules of the administration of justice when a person has been accused of a crime.

Appeals – Judicial Review

When a party files an appeal, asking to review the case:

Alternative Dispute Resolution in India

Method of resolving disputes out-of-court (ADR).

Private Law

Family Law in India

Guide to Marriage Law, Succession Law and other Family Law topics in India.

Contract Law in India

Contracts Law outline in India.

Tort Law in India

Regulating claims by civil wrongs that result in an injury or harm.

Property Law in India

Real property and Personal property law in India.

Copyright and Industrial Property

Survey of industrial and intellectual property laws in India.

Foreign Trade

Regulation of Foreign Trade in India and Asia.

Business Law in India

Besides commercial law and the law of corporations and other entities, this guide provides comprehensive information about:

Criminal Law in India

Penal law involves prosecution for a crime in India and Asia. Find out more.

Family Law in India

Family legal issues including:

  • Divorce and separation
  • Child protection, custody, support and access
  • Adoptions
  • Property Division

Public Law

More about Public Law here.

Administrative Law

Report of the branches of the Administrative law, including Environmental law.

Administrative Processes

Administrative Processing in India and Asia.


Taxation in India explained.

Labor Law

Overview of the labor law and social security in India.

Asia Legal Systems

Further Resources

History of the Indian Legal System

The Indian legal tradition has been shaped by many different influences, domestic as well as foreign. More than one different legal system has coexisted in India at various points in the long country history. The Portal of Indian law provides introductory entries about the background and history of the law of the country.

India Law Portal

The India Law Portal provides an introductory overview of the history of legal development in India, major legal concepts, the structure of Indian government, the Indian judicial and court system, and peculiar characteristic of the response of the Indian legal system to development in India.

The India Portal presents the main areas of its legal system and the wider aspects of how law is made and reformed. The entries of the India Law Portal include consideration of the primary features of the Indian legal system, including the Indian legal history, Indian judicial structure and operation, the Indian Constitution and the legislative and administrative structure and process. The contents of the India Portal also include discussion of Indian legal actors (including Indian lawyers), legal education, judges and other participants in the Indian legal landscape.

The Portal introduces legal professionals, students and the general reader to terms and concepts necessary for understanding the Indian legal system, the jurisdiction, organization and authority of courts in India, and the Indian judicial interpretation and decision-making. The substantive areas of law such as public law, torts and product liability, property (including intellectual property rights and copyright infringements), and family law are also covered. The Portal also treats the law governing the main business legal topics: contracts, business regulation, companies and taxation. It also examines the civil, criminal and administrative processes, the procedural rights, main court opinions and the various modes of alternative dispute resolution available in India.

Useful to the reader of the Encyclopedia as a reference, the Portal provides a table of cases, indices provides even greater detail, a glossary of selected legal terms and many entries provide bibliographies for further reading.

Comparative Law and Legal Systems in Asia

One of the goals of the comparative law is to wrap up the similarities and differences among countries, including India. the different legal traditions in Asia and could be able thereby better to understand the Indian law. to the reception of legal systems in India and other countries of Asia, with special reference to the reception of foreign law (specially English law and Islamic law) by these countries.

The Asian Encyclopedia of Law provides a survey of the legal systems of almost all the Asian jurisdictions. Being the Encyclopedia a work in progress, the length of the entries may vary considerably. Each country section includes a description of their major subject areas of law, notes on the main compilations (or official codifications), a detailed listing of legislation covering specific topics and resources for enacted laws and judicial decisions (including references to further online sources).

Conclusion about the Legal System of India

A good comprehension of the Indian legal system requires knowledge and skill in a number of disciplines. The Indian system itself is the result of developments in law, economy, politics, sociological change and the theories which feed all these bodies of knowledge. The law or India may be relevant in a foreign jurisdiction court proceeding involving international transactions. The Knowledge of the Indian traditions and its legal institutions allows a good understanding of the Indian law, its institutions and processes and sets the Indian law and system in a social context.

This guide introduces some of the main procedural and substantive Indian principles, with a more detailed treatment of resources in the major subject areas of the Indian law, with access to primary materials.

The general reader and students may learn some basic legal concepts and principles of the Indian law, to explain how the Indian legal system operates, and to provide a sense of how the systems within India have evolved historically in India from its origins.

A globally focused guide like this site, including the legal concepts and principles of Asia, cannot
avoid taking many culture-specific elements into account.

About the Author

Salvador Trinxet Llorca is a law writer, professor and lawyer specialized in comparative and international law.

See Also

Dictionary Free in India

References and Further Reading

  • Comparative law in a global context : the legal systems of Asia and Africa, Werner Menski
  • Asian legal systems : law, society, and pluralism in East Asia, Poh-Ling Tan
  • Philanthropy and law in Asia : a comparative study of the nonprofit legal systems in ten Asia Pacific societies, Thomas Silk
  • Law and legal institutions of Asia : traditions, adaptations and innovations, E Ann Black; Gary F Bell
  • Law, capitalism and power in Asia : the rule of law and legal institutions, Kanishka Jayasuriya
  • Asia-Pacific legal development, Douglas M Johnston and Gerry A Ferguson
  • Modern legal systems cyclopedia, Kenneth R Redden and William Emerson Brock
  • Constitutionalism in Asia : Asian views of the American influence, Lawrence Ward Beer
  • The judicialization of politics in Asia, Björn Dressel
  • East Asian Law: Universal Norms and Local Cultures
  • Law, Capitalism and Power in Asia : The Rule of Law and Legal Institutions
  • Doing Business in Asia (updated regularly)
  • Copyright Law and the Information Society in Asia
  • Insolvency Law in East Asia
  • Intellectual Property Law in Asia
  • A Legal Guide to Doing Business in the Asia-Pacific


  • Asia-Pacific Development Journal
  • Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law
  • Asian Law Journal
  • Australian Journal of Asian Law
  • Columbia Journal of Asian Law

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