Shah Bano, Narendra Modi and Reality Checks About Global Understandings of Indian Law
Nirma University Law Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, July 2011
20 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2018
Date Written: July 01, 2011
This article highlights the deeply contested nature of various conceptualizations of law and illustrates primarily the usefulness of pluralist methodology in legal analysis today. Highly politicized views infect much recent writing about Indian law, often represented today as examples of abuses of power and deeply deficient statehood. Both Shah Bano and Narendra Modi are used globally as iconic symbols to misrepresent and hide significant Indian legal developments. Many observers refuse to accept that Indian law is simply different from so-called Western, purportedly global prototypes. However, Indian law will continue to develop differently from Western models simply because law is of necessity culture-specific. The personal law system of India, in particular, despite some evidence of gradual harmonization, retains critical elements of structural and functional difference in legal management that global legal scholarship must account for in analyzing Indian laws and searching for ‘the right law’. To argue against Indian personal laws today thus comes close to violating basic human rights, as Indians, too, deserve a right to culture. While many Indian lawyers fail to understand their own legal system, in theory and often in practice, confusions are multiplied when Gujarati NRIs as a long-established migrant group with multiple cross-jurisdictional links are embroiled in complicated intercultural cases litigated in English courts. The article advises basically more focused attention on intercultural conflicts of laws as an underdeveloped field within private international law.
Keywords: Shah Bano, Reality Check, Global Understanding, Indian Law
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