Sources of Law

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* CHAPTER 1 LAW AND ITS SOURCES Introduction Man is by nature a social being. He comes into contact with other individuals in different capacities. These contacts or associations are the inevitable consequence of modern civilization. In all these associations, he is expected to observe a Code of Conduct or a set of rules. The object of these set of rules is to make human associations possible; and ensure that members of the society may live ; and work together in an orderly and peaceful manner. 1.1 WHAT IS LAW The word `law` is a general term and over a period of time attained different connotations to signify varied purposes. Persons carrying different vocations prefer to identify `law` as to the purpose the prescribed set of rules are intended to achieve: - (i) A Citizen may think of law as a set of rules, which he must obey. (ii) A Lawyer who `practices law` may think of law as a vocation. (iii) A Legislator may look at law something created by him. (iv) A Judge thinks of law as a guide and principles to be applied to making decisions. (v) A Social Scientist may think of law as a means of social control. (vi) A Legal Philosopher may consider law as `dictate of reason` or `right reasoning. It is often preceded by an adjective to give it a more precise meaning e.g. Commercial/ Mercantile law, Civil law, Criminal law, Industrial law, International law. In the legal sense with which we are concerned in our study of Commercial Laws, the definition of `law` includes all the rules and principles which regulate our relations with other individuals and the State and which are enforced by the State. DEFINITON OF `LAW` - ARTICLE 13 (3) OF CONSITTUTION OF INDIA Clause 3 of Article 13 of the Constitution of India defines `law` as under (a) `law` includes any Ordinance, order, bye-law, rule, regulation, notification, custom or usage having the force of law; An amendment to an existing law is also law. `Law` in the context of the provisions of the Constitution of India may also be defined as – “It is an Act passed by the legislature and assented to by the President of India or Governor of a State.” [Arts 111 and 200 of the Constitution of India]. 1.2 `LAW` AND `STATUTE` The Constitution of India does not use the term 'Statute' but it uses the term 'law'. Statute has been defined as `the written will of the legislature'. Thus, Statute or law generally means the laws and regulations of every sort without considering the source from which they emanate. It is because of this the term `law` and `statute` are some times used interchangeably. 1.3 NEED FOR KNOWLEDGE OF `LAW` `Ignorntia juris non excusat` is a familiar maxim. This means `ignorance of law is no excuse`. Although it is not possible for a layman to be aware of every branch lf law, yet he must acquaint himself with the general principals of the law of the country. 1.4 FUNCTIONS AND PURPOSE OF `LAW ` 1 Justice 2 Continuity and uniformity 3 Impartiality 1.5 LAW IS NOT STATIC * IIPM 2 CH. – 1 LAW & SOURCES Although origins of law in any society may be traced in antiquity, yet law is not static. As circumstances and conditions in a society change, laws are changed to fit the requirements of the society. 1.6 CLASSIFICATION OF LAW 1. PUBLIC LAW – It is that law which determines and regulates the organization and functioning of the State. It also determines the relation of the State with its subjects. The following laws form part of the public law: - a) Constitutional law – It is the basic and fundamental law of the land, which determines the nature of the State and the structure of the Government. It may be written (as in India, USA and most other countries) or unwritten (as in England). b) Administrative law – It is the law, which deals with the structure, functions and powers of the organs of the Government. c) Criminal law – It deals with various offences, and has for its object their prevention by providing for and prescribing certain punishments for...
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