CULT TO CONSTITUTION BY Shreya Bapat

[ An evolution of customs and religious prescription into the constitutional law]

-Shreya Bapat

The angel at the back of our mind has always been telling us ‘do good, be good’. The central idea of good relates to our morality. Haven’t our parents always taught us how stealing or hurting others is considered wrong. We fail to notice but these general principles have always played an eminent role and that’s where we derive the current constitutional laws from. Natural law theory asserts that there is an essential connection between law and morality. This connection has recorded legal history starting from Vedic times in the Vedas and Upanishads.


Tracing the evolution, we first stumble upon the ancient Hindu law. The three primary categories here are:

  • Classical Hindu law focuses on three main elements Dharma (righteousness, duty or law), Sources of Hindu law (Vedas, smritis and Acharas) and Dharma shastra (rules for life of an ideal householder). These sources mainly consisted of hymns, praises and ritual instruction. The life cycle rites relating to birth, marriage and death were also mentioned in these scriptures. An important element of these texts was prayaschitta which laid down rules and punishments and penances for violating the laws of dharma just like the modern-day IPC and CrPC.

  • Anglo Hindu law (1772-1947) which is divided into two phases both of which mainly consists of British colonial era. In the first phase the major developments include, (i) compiling of Hindu religious texts by British scholars like Willian Jones, Henry Thomas Colebrook, J.C.C Sutherland and Harry Borrodaile. (ii) court pandits were used in British Courts to aid in interpretation and implementation of dharma shastra texts. Gradually the court pandits become redundant due to sufficient proliferation and development of established case laws and of some precedent value.

  • In the second phase British administrators introduced codified laws and acts based on English legal system. This idea was well received by Indian Nationalist Movement and formed the core of drafting the modern-day constitution of India.

  • Current Constitutional law then replaced the English laws introduced earlier after the drafting of Constitution.

  • Thus, we see the evolution of natural laws described as ‘divine law or or law which is eternal or universal’ flowering into the laws we follow today in India. Also, it is important to make a note these approaches aren’t accepted in totality but at the same time not rejected completely.

  • Current Constitutional law then replaced the English laws introduced earlier after the drafting of Constitution.

  • Thus, we see the evolution of natural laws described as ‘divine law or or law which is eternal or universal’ flowering into the laws we follow today in India. Also, it is important to make a note these approaches aren’t accepted in totality but at the same time not rejected completely.

  • Current Constitutional law then replaced the English laws introduced earlier after the drafting of Constitution.

  • Thus, we see the evolution of natural laws described as ‘divine law or or law which is eternal or universal’ flowering into the laws we follow today in India. Also, it is important to make a note these approaches aren’t accepted in totality but at the same time not rejected completely.

  • Current Constitutional law then replaced the English laws introduced earlier after the drafting of Constitution.

Thus, we see the evolution of natural laws described as ‘divine law or or law which is eternal or universal’ flowering into the laws we follow today in India. Also, it is important to make a note these approaches aren’t accepted in totality but at the same time not rejected completely.


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