There are many types of laws in India. For e.g. Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, etc. But, firstly we need to understand what exactly law is?

What is Law?

There is no specific definition of law provided in any act or code but in simple terms, we can define law as any rules and regulations through which society operates. The law ensures the smooth functioning of society. The law also defines the penalties for non-enforcement of those rules and regulations. The Courts in our country do the work of execution of laws. Our country functions according to the system of Democracy in which the main motto is “to the people, by the people, and for the people”. The law in any region is formed according to the situations prevailing in that region. For example, there are different land laws which for the different states of India. Personal laws of Hindu and Muslim are also prevailing.

A constitution of any country is the basis of any legal system in any state. A constitution is the system of laws, customs, and conventions which define the composition and powers of the organs of the state and regulate the relations of the various state organs to one another and to the private citizen.

Types of law

Some of the categories in which law can be divided are:

(a)    Public and Private Law

Public law is a branch of law which regulates the interaction of citizens with the State. (e.g. criminal law, constitutional law, administrative law), similarly private law is the branch of law which regulates the relationship between individuals within a state. (e.g. contract law, tort law, property law) .

(b)    Criminal law and Civil law

Criminal Law generally aims to punish the wrongdoer while civil law generally aims to compensate the person against whom the wrong has been committed.

(c)    Substantive and Procedural Law

Substantive law defines the right and duties of the person while procedural law defines the procedure for the enforcement of those rights and duties.

(d)    International and Municipal Law

International law is a body of agreements, treaties, maritime conventions, etc. that pertain to relations between countries and/or apply to activities in international waters. National/federal laws are enforced internally by the relevant nation and are not binding outside the nation’s borders.

Characteristics of law

Some of the characteristics of law are:

(a)    Flexibility

The law must be able to respond without undue delay to the challenge of change at all levels of society.

(b)    Fairness

The effectiveness of law depends upon its acceptance by members of society and that will not be available where a law is inequitable, unfair or unreasonable.

(c)    Accessibility

All should have access to knowledge of the law, either directly or through intermediaries.

(d)    Certainty

The people should have enough knowledge of what they are doing and their understanding of its effects, therefore, they should have a clear understanding of the law. In other words, the law should not be vague.

Sources of Law

We have different types of law in our society but how does the law start is a thing which should be known. Some sources of law are:

(a)    Custom

Customs hold a lot of importance in our society. When a habit is practiced by a group of people over a long period of time, it becomes a custom and a law made by customs are known as Customary law.

(b)    Common law

It is that branch of law that is derived from the judicial precedents rather than from any statutes. In other words, it is the law developed by courts.

(c)    Legislation

The parliament in the legislation is the body who is having the supreme power and authority to make laws. In other words, legislation is the prime source of law.

Why study law?

(a)    To become a more effective citizen

By knowing the law, we could easily recognize and manage our rights and duties. We can get to know as to how our decisions impact us legally by being aware of the law and the legal environment.

(b)    To become a resourceful consumer

With the knowledge of the law, no one can manipulate us.

(c)    As per the general rule, ignorance of the law is no excuse. So if we know about the law it will be beneficial to us.


The basic feature of any legal system which is prevailing in the whole world is that it should provide justice to the people of the country. If the laws are not able to provide justice to the people, then there is no need for them. Justice is ideal and every law must conform to it. The changing circumstance of society makes the law. Above all, as the needs of the society changes, the law changes itself.

The purpose of law will not be served if it is not changed according to the needs of society. New laws like Cyber laws, the law of the sea, etc. have been enforced with the changing technology so that there is particular and specific legislation for each and every act committed that is against the law. However, enhancing technology helps to commit cybercrime or any type of crime in a more easy manner. In conclusion, we can say that society works according to the law. We should know about the law after all we are the citizens of India.

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