FIRST LAW COMMISSION IN INDIA

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

It was appointed in 1834 and its chairman was Lord Macaulay. In the beginning it consists of mainly four members including Lord Macaulay. The other three members were JM MacLeod, GW Anderson and CH Conson who represented the presidency of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay respectively.

This Law Commission was to function under the direction and control of the governor general and council. The commission was directed to prepare a draft of penal code and also of Civil and Criminal Procedure Code.

The prime objective of this Law Commission was to improve the existing legal system.

Contribution of the first law commission: - The first law commission started with the codification of criminal law because the existing criminal law was fully of uncertainty and confusion throughout the country.

The draft of the Penal Code was finally submitted by the law commission to the government in 1837. This draft was mainly prepared by Lord Macaulay; hence it was the Macaulay code. However, the draught could not be enacted into law until 1861. In 1837 Lord Macaulay went back to England and Andrew Amo was appointed as the chairman of the law commission in his place.

The first law commission made a very valuable contribution to the development of legal history of India. It prepares the law regarding other European which was called the law of Lex Loci. On account of liberal approach an open door policy a member of European settle in India and they were authorized to buy and sell land in India, but there was uncertainty which law they would follow. These Europeans include Christians and Anglo Indians. These Europeans were dealt by the English law but the English law in India was according to the Indian situation. Consequently, the first law commission submitted its suggestion that there should be law of land that is lex Loci for India, it is based on substantive law of England (It is a legal system administer by Courts of England and rule on the Civil and criminal matter)

The law commission expressed the view that white English law was applicable to all the person excluding Muslim and Hindu. The lex Loci law should be followed in the case regarding other Europeans. Though there were some restrictions:-

1. The law of land should not be applied in the matter of marriage diverse succession and adoption.

2. Only that much of English substantive law was to be declared lex Loci which suited Indian conditions.

3. The act of British Parliament was not to be extended to the Mofussils unless the expressed



Credit: Pratyaksha

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