Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Articles

Constitutional and Legislative Development in the Indian Republic

A. Gledhill

Cowell in his Tagore Law Lectures in 1872 said: ‘Constitutional history in this country has nothing to do with steady spontaneous growth of national activities. It is a record of experiment made by foreign rulers to govern alien races in a strange land, to adapt European institutions to Oriental habits of life, and to make definite laws supreme among peoples who had always associated government with arbitrary and uncontrolled authority.’

Rankin in 1946 wrote: ‘The influence of the common law in India is due not so much to a “reception” … as to a process of codification … not merely with a view to putting into form a system which was already in force, but to lay down a rule of decision where there seemed to be none, or where different rules were competing for the same ground.’