India has one of the oldest legal systems in the world with its laws and jurisprudence dating back centuries and evolving like a living way of life with the people of India adapting to the changing times. It is a misconception that the Indian legal system gained a systematic shape and development only during British rule rather we have a traditional mindset of following laws and regulations and doing our duties for the society which can be inferred from the verses of Manu smriti that Dharma i.e., Rule of Law is the supreme power in the state and the King is also subject to Law to realize the goal of Dharma.

The Indian legal system is a complex framework of laws, regulations, and institutions that govern the country. Here are the basics of the Indian legal System:

  1. Constitution: the constitution of India is the supreme law of the country. It was adopted in 1950 and provides the framework for the functioning of the government, fundamental rights of citizens, distribution of powers between the central and state governments, and the structure of the judiciary.
  2. Rule of Law: The Indian legal system follows the principle of the rule of Law, which means that all individuals and institutions Are subject to and must abide by the law. No one, including the government, is above the law.
  3. Legal Framework: The Indian legal system is based on the English common law system, inherited from the colonial period. It consists of various laws, including statutes (acts of parliament and state legislatures), case laws (precedents set by higher courts), and customary laws.
  4. Federal Structure: India is a federal country with a dual system of government. The legal system reflects this federal structure, with powers and responsibilities divided between the central governments and the state governments. Both the central and state governments can enact laws within their respective jurisdictions.
  5. Three-tier Judiciary: The Indian judiciary is independent of the executive and legislative branches of government. It consists of three levels: the Supreme Court of India, the High Court is the highest judicial authority in the country and has the power of judicial review.
  6. Fundamental Rights: The Indian constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all citizens: including the right to equality, freedom of speech, and expression. Freedom of religion, and protection against discrimination. Citizens can approach the courts to enforce their fundamental rights through writ petitions.
  7. Criminal and Civil Laws: Indian law is broadly categorized into criminal law and civil law. Criminal law deals with offenses against the state, such as murder, theft, and fraud, and is governed by the Indian penal code and other specialized statutes. Civil law deals with disputes between individuals, such as contracts, property, and family matters, and is governed by various laws, including the induna contract act, the Indian Evidence Act, and the Code of civil procedure.
  8. Legal Profession: the legal profession in India consists of advocates and lawyers. Advocates are licensed legal professionals who can appear in court and represents clients. The bar council of India regulates the legal professions and sets standards for legal education.


  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution: in addition to the court system, India has alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as arbitration, mediation, and conciliation, to provide quick and cost-effective resolution of disputes.
  2. Legal Reforms: The Indian legal system is continuously evolving, with ongoing efforts to reform and improve its efficiency. Various legal reforms have been undertaken to enhance access to justice, streamline court procedures, and address emerging challenges.

It is important to note that this is a brief overview of the Indian legal system, and there are many more intricates and details within each aspect.



Ms. Mohini Taneja

Assistant Professor

School of Law

Lingaya’s Vidyapeeth

June 2, 2023

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