What is Custom and explain its various kinds? What are the essentials of a Valid Custom under Hindu Law ?


Examine the importance of Custom as a source of Hindu Law.


“Clear proof of usage will outweigh the written text of law.” Comment.

Ans. Meaning of Custom—In the ordinary language custom is a habitual course of conduct observed uniformally and voluntarily by the people concerned. In the legal language the different jurists have defined custom as under—

Austin said– “Custom is a rule of conduct which the governed observed spontaneously and not in pursuance of a law set by political superior.”

Salmond said– “Custom is the embodiment of those principles which have commended themselves to the national conscience as principles of justice and public utility.”

Holland said–”Custom is a generally observed course of conduct.” He says that the mode in which a path is formed across any grass field best illustrates the formation of such habitual course of conduct.

Kinds of Cutsoms– According to Hindu Law customs can be divided into three kinds—

I. Local Customs– Customs which are applicable to a particular locality like a country, slate, district, town or village and are binding on all residents of that locality are called local customs.

2. Class Customs–Customs which are applicable to a particular caste or community or the followers of a particular profession or occupation such as agriculture, trade, mechanical art and the like are called class customs.

3. Family Customs — Family customs are those customs which are confined to a particular family only and do not apply to persons .who are not members of such family.

For Example—customs governing succession to an Impartible Estate in Rajasthan or usages of succession on Maths or religious foundations.