Indian legal jurisprudence, like any other legal system, is characterized by various salient features that define its framework and functioning. Some of the key features of Indian legal jurisprudence include:
- Constitutional Framework: Indian legal jurisprudence is based on a written constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. The Constitution of India, adopted in 1950, lays down the fundamental rights, directive principles, and the structure of the government.
- Rule of Law: The principle of the rule of law is a fundamental feature of Indian legal jurisprudence. It means that all individuals, including the government, are subject to and must abide by the law. No one is above the law, and the legal system ensures that justice is administered impartially.
- Federal Structure: India follows a federal system of governance, with a division of powers between the central government and the state governments. The Constitution delineates the powers and responsibilities of both levels of government.
- Common Law System: India follows the common law legal system inherited from its colonial past. Judicial decisions, in addition to statutes, are considered as sources of law, and the doctrine of precedent is an essential aspect of the legal system.
- Parliamentary Legislation: The Indian Parliament has the authority to enact laws on subjects specified in the Constitution’s Union List. State legislatures have similar powers within their respective States under the State List.
- Independent Judiciary: The Indian legal system has an independent judiciary that acts as the guardian of the Constitution and ensures the rule of law. The Supreme Court of India is the apex judicial body, and High Courts and subordinate courts function at the state level.
- Fundamental Rights: The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to its citizens, ensuring equality, freedom, and protection against discrimination. Citizens can approach the courts if their fundamental rights are violated.
- Directive Principles of State Policy: The Constitution includes Directive Principles of State Policy, which are guidelines for the government to achieve social and economic justice. While not enforceable in a court of law, these principles are fundamental in the governance of the country.
- Public Interest Litigation (PIL): PIL is a unique feature of Indian legal jurisprudence, allowing any citizen to approach the court seeking justice for the violation of fundamental rights or for issues related to public interest.
- Amendment Procedure: The Constitution of India can be amended by the Parliament, subject to certain procedural requirements. Some provisions require a special majority in both houses of Parliament, while others also need ratification by a certain number of state legislatures.
- Personal Laws: India recognizes and respects personal laws for different religious communities. Matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc., are governed by personal laws specific to each religion.
- Social Justice: Indian legal jurisprudence emphasizes social justice and seeks to protect the rights of marginalized and disadvantaged sections of society.
These are some of the salient features that define Indian legal jurisprudence. The legal system in India is continually evolving to address emerging challenges and ensure access to justice for all citizens.