Reform and Codification of Hindu Personal Law: The Hindu Code Bills, 1948–57

Rina Verma Williams

in Postcolonial Politics and Personal Laws

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195680140
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081721 | DOI:
Reform and Codification of Hindu Personal Law: The Hindu Code Bills, 1948–57

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This chapter investigates the Indian government policy on the personal laws in the period immediately following independence in 1947. It is noted that Indian government policies on the personal laws continued to conform closely to those of the British colonial government. Jawaharlal Nehru broke the single Hindu Code Bill (HCB) into four constituent bills: the Hindu Marriage and Divorce Bill, the Hindu Succession Bill, the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Bill, and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Bill. The British colonial government sought to reform and codify Hindu personal law for reasons of administrative and judicial clarity and convenience. Nehru's unwillingness to intervene with the personal law of the minorities eventually provided the Hindu nationalist right a tool with which to beat the Congress Party and the Muslim community. The nature of India's independence and its nationalist movement tended to favour continuity.

Keywords: independence; Hindu personal law; Indian government policy; Hindu Code Bills; Jawaharlal Nehru; British colonial government; nationalist movement

Chapter.  11907 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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