What are the sources of Hindu law?

Hindu law is basically a religion-based law for Hindus. This law applies to their marriage, guardianship, maintenance, adoption, bequest, wi...

Sources of Hindu law

Hindu law is basically a religion-based law for Hindus. This law applies to their marriage, guardianship, maintenance, adoption, bequest, will, inheritance, family relations, and various religious purposes. Although this law has been changed several times to make it up-to-date, but it has never been separated from the religious principles.

Therefore, I will discuss the sources of Hindu law in details.

The Sources of Hindu Law 

The sources of Hindu law are basically divided into two parts. They are as follows: 
  • Formal Sources
  • Material Sources 

Formal Source

  • Shruti;
  • Smrity; 
  • Legal digest or commentaries;
  • Customs;
  • Factum Valet;
  • Puran;

Material Sources

  • Legislature;
  • Judicial Decisions; and
  • Equity, Justice, and Good Conscience. 

Shruti (Heard)

According to Hindu belief, Shruti is basically a combination of the heavenly words of the deities prevalent in the mouths of human beings. In ancient times, it was not common to write these sayings, but later it was compiled by Munibar Krishnapayan, which is called Veda. There are four Vedas in Hindu religion. They are as follows:
  • Rigveda or Rig Veda;
  • Yajur Veda;
  • Sama Veda; and
  • Atharva Veda.

Smriti (Recollection)

Although the Vedas are heavenly or God's word, memory is not God's word; On the contrary, the words that sages, gurus and disciples have been memorizing in the tradition at different times are called Smriti Shastra. Smriti Shastra is mainly three and they are as follows:
  • Manu Smriti Shastra (compiled in the 4th century BC)
  • Yajnavalka Smriti Shastra (compiled in the 4th century)
  • Narada Smriti Shastra (compiled in 5th or 6th century)
Although the place of memory is after Shruti as the source of law, if any principle of memory conflicts with Shruti, it is abandoned.

Legal digest or commentaries

All the legal explanations and analysis provided by Hindu legal experts at different times are called commentaries. Since the words uttered by the sages and sages are not in written form, it is necessary to settle disputes with the conventional sayings at different times. As a result, the interpretation given by Hindu jurists is regarded as the source of law. However, it is not acceptable if the article conflicts with any of the basic principles of Shruti or Sriti. 

In Hindu law, there are two types of commentaries. They are as follows: 
  • Dayabhaga (compiled by Jimutavahana)
  • Mitakshara (compiled by Vijnaneshwar)
The Dayabhaga school prevails in Bangladesh and West Bengal. On the other hand, the Mitakshara school prevails in the rest of India.


The importance of custom in every law of the world is immense. For example, in Muslim law there is a place for custom or alias. Similarly, in Hinduism, custom is also considered as the source of law. Customs are basically rules or principles that have been in place for a long time in a particular family, or in a particular community, or in a particular area. However, in order for it to be accepted as law, it must have certain characteristics within the practice. 

To know more about custom you can read the following article:


The ancient myths are compiled in poetry. Some have called the Purana the Fifth Veda. Again, many have disagreed. As a result, some have disagreed with its acceptance as a source of Hindu law. However, the Puranas are accepted as explanations or parables. 

Factum Valet 

Although "Factum Valet" is accepted as a source in Hindu law, it is said that it is only a principle. For more details, please read:


Hindu classical law is very ancient. Therefore, in the evolution of time, this law has been enacted and amended by the legislature to make it up-to-date. And these laws are considered as the main source of Hindu law. For instance,
  • Hindu Widow Act (1856)
  • Hindu Wills Act (1870)
  • The Hindu Gains of Learning Act (1930)
  • The Hindu Women's Rights to Property Act (1937)
India (after independence in 1947) also passed the following Acts:
  • The Hindu Marriage Act (1955)
  • The Hindu Succession Act (1956)
  • The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (1956)
  • The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956)
But these laws will only apply to Hindus in India, not to Hindus in Bangladesh or any other country.

Judicial Decisions 

As with other laws, the parties approach the court for a court decision on all disputes arising out of Hindu law. If the decision of the court is not in favor, the parties appeal to the higher court. The decisions of the Appellate Division and the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh are later followed as a precedent in similar cases.

Thus a precedent of the High Court is regarded as the source of Hindu law

Equity, Justice, and Good Conscience 

When a matter is brought before the court for settlement and if there is no clear provision in the law regarding the case or the problem, the the court will, with its inherent power, settle the matter in accordance with the prevailing law.

In the absence of clear provisions, justice is administered on the basis of Equity, Justice, and Good Conscience. This rule is followed not only in Hindu law, but in all laws.

Finally, it can be said that Hindu law as a whole has no definite source; Rather relying on different sources.


  1. আপনার এ লেখায় আমি বেশ উপকার পেলাম।

We welcome relevant and respectful comments. Off-topic comments may be removed.


101 Law,280,BBC Order and Rules,1,British Law,5,Constitutional Law,33,Contract Law,27,CPC,13,CrPC,11,Equity and Trust Law,8,Evidence Act,8,Hindu Law,20,Jurisprudence,21,Labour Law,8,Legal Terms,3,Limitation Act,4,Muslim Law,55,Penal Code,14,Question Bank,2,Reviews,5,Specific Relief Act,17,Tax Law,13,Tort Law,21,
Money Gelt - Law news, insights and free legal advice!: What are the sources of Hindu law?
What are the sources of Hindu law?
Money Gelt - Law news, insights and free legal advice!
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read More Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content