Ancient India …

Ancient India represented a distinct tradition of law, and had a historically independent school of legal theory and practice. The Arthashastra, dating from 400 BC and the Manusmriti, from 100 AD, were influential treatises in India, texts that were considered authoritative legal guidance. Manu‘s central philosophy was tolerance and pluralism, and was cited across Southeast Asia.

Early in this period, which culminated in the creation of the Gupta Empire, relations with ancient Greece and Rome were not infrequent. The appearance of similar fundamental institutions of international law in various parts of the world show that they are inherent in international society, irrespective of culture and tradition. Inter-State relations in the pre-Islamic period resulted in clear-cut rules of warfare of a high humanitarian standard, in rules of neutrality, of treaty law, of customary law embodied in religious charters, in exchange of embassies of a temporary or semipermanent character.

When India became part of the British Empire, there was a break in tradition, and Hindu and Islamic law were supplanted by the common law. As a result, the present judicial system of the country derives largely from the British system and has little correlation to the institutions of the pre-British era.

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