The Impact of British Administration on Hindu Law

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The impact of British Administration on Hindu Law:

When the East India Company established their business in Indian subcontinent they were not aware about the laws of that area. As a result they faced problems in the administration levels. The main concern of the administrators of East India Company, Hastings and also his immediate successors, was to ensure maximum amount of land revenue along with the introduction of a judicial administration of both civil and criminal, which would command the authority over the native subjects.[1] So in 1772 Governor-General, Warren Hastings declared his Plan for the Administration of Justice that ‘in all suits regarding inheritance, marriage, caste and other religious usages or institutions, the laws of the Koran with respect to the Mohamedans and those of the Shaster with respect to the Gentoos shall invariably be adhered to.’[2] This policy developed some more policies that modernize Hindu law and established Anglo-Hindu law. The codification of Hindu law helped this personal to develop because before this codification Hindu law was not codified any where, so it became easier to bring reforms in a compiled law. Moreover, due to the policy of using Hindu law in civil cases concerning Hindu parties, Court Pundits were introduced in courts to help English judges in decision-making. Finally, besides taking help from pundits in giving judgment on Hindu law related cases, the English judges also took help the principles of common law. As a result the Hindu law developed, which contributed to the reforms of Hindu law that took place in the end of British India.

Early Colonial Development of Hindu Law:

The early colonial period is marked from 1772 till 1864, when three sorts of development took place in Hindu personal law: codification of Hindu Law in one code, introduction of pundits in courts and development of case principles in Hindu law related cases.[3]

Dharmahastra, smriti, sruti, purans, customs and usages and...
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