Legal Norms and Other Norms
Subject- Legal Methods
Submitted to- Ms Amita Punj
Submitted by- Sanya Sud
National Law University, Delhi
“Custom is to the society what law is to the state.”These famous lines by Salmond beautifully express the complex relationship between legal norms and custom, a form of societal norms. While understanding the association between legal and other norms, we first must define what ‘other norms’ signify. For the purposes of this research, other norms shall include moral norms, (connoting the relation between law and morality) customary norms, (connoting the relation between law and custom) as well as religious norms (representing the relation between law and religion). Throughout, we shall assume the terms ‘law’ and ‘legal norms’ to be synonymous. We shall attempt to study the interaction between the process of law and the social sphere, and the influence of each on the other. Law cannot operate in a vacuum; it has to exist within a plethora of forces such as the force of customs, the force of morality and the force of religion. The question that arises is, does law influence social norms and conform it to what the sovereign wants, or do the social norms and notions of ideal behaviour guide the process of creation of law?
Moreover, we shall relate this knowledge of the socio-legal interaction thus arrived at with specific respect to Indian law and society.
A state can impose law from the top down by enacting novel obligations, as illustrated by most regulatory law, or, alternatively, law can grow from bottom up by enforcing social norms.
However, there is no one fixed answer to the above dilemma, which means that the state often adheres and conforms to societal norms, but simultaneously, several situations exist where societal norms are overruled, or disregarded. Hence according to different situations, different approaches are applied by the state. Thus,