Rethinking Indian Jurisprudence: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Rethinking Indian Jurisprudence

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law, 1st Edition

By Aakash Singh Rathore, Garima Goswamy

Routledge India

218 pages

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pub: 2018-02-06
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What is law? What is the source of law? What is the law for? How does law differ from other norms or codes of conduct? What is the difference between law and morality? Who is obligated to follow the law and why? What is the difference between moral and legal obligation?

This book addresses these foundational questions about the law in general, and seeks to reorient our thoughts to the specific nature of law in India, the India of today, and the possible India of the future.

This volume:

  • covers relevant foundational elements, concepts and questions of the discipline;
  • brings the uniqueness of Indian Philosophy of Law to the fore;
  • critically analyzes the major theories of jurisprudence;
  • examines legal debates on secularism, rationality, religion, rights and caste politics; and
  • presents useful cases and examples, including free speech, equality and reservation, queer law, rape and security, and the ethics of organ donation.

Lucid and accessible, the book will be indispensable to students, teachers and scholars of law, philosophy, politics as well as philosophy of law, sociology of law, legal theory and jurisprudence.


‘Legal philosophy has long been dominated by Western ideas and leading figures. This important new book surveys these concepts and contributions, and then brings them into conversation with indigenous Indian thought. The result is fascinating and opens up radically new perspectives for jurisprudence.’

Thom Brooks, Professor and Chair of Law and Government and Dean at Durham Law School, UK

‘Finally a book which rights the wrongs inflicted upon "Jurisprudence" in Indian Law schools. Bridging classic western legal philosophy with Indian intellectual traditions and praxis, Rethinking Indian Jurisprudence will inaugurate a new pedagogical practice in law’

Kalpana Kannabiran, Professor and Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad, India

‘A lively, provocative, and accessible book, which encourages the reader to think on and explore further the mystery and miracle of legal philosophy, otherwise alien to the learning of modern law in India.’

Upendra Baxi, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Warwick, UK and Distinguished Professor of Law, National Law University, Delhi, India

Table of Contents


Part I: Elements of the Philosophy of Law

1. Law and Morality

2. Christian Sources of Secular Law

3. The Cannibal’s Guide to Jurisprudence

4. Law and Rationality

5. Wronging Rights?

Part II: Towards an Indian Philosophy of Law

6. Towards an Indian Philosophy of Law

7. From Dharmashastra to Modern Hindu Law

8. The Persistence of Caste

9. The Politics of Shariat

10. Gandhi’s Affirmation of Law

11. Ambedkarite Jurisprudence

Part III: Applying Legal Philosophy to Indian Cases

12. Free Speech and All India Bakchod

13. Equality and Reservation

14. Queering Law

15. Rape and Security—A Buddhist Vantage Point

16. The Ethics of Organ Donation

17. Indian Supreme Court Jurisprudence: Five Exemplary Cases




About the Authors

Aakash Singh Rathore specializes in Legal Theory (Post-Doctorate) and Comparative Constitutional Law (LL.M.), and is currently Visiting Professor at the Centre for Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He is also an International Fellow of the Center for Ethics and Global Politics in Rome, Italy. His publications include Plato’s Labyrinth: Sophistries, Lies and Conspiracies in Socratic Dialogues (2018), Indian Political Theory: Laying the Groundwork for Svaraj (2017) and Indian Political Thought: A Reader (co-edited with Silika Mohapatra, 2010), also published by Routledge.

Garima Goswamy has taught Philosophy at Lady Shri Ram College, St Stephen’s College, Laxmibai College and Hansraj College, University of Delhi, and at BML Munjal University, India. Currently she works in the risk-consulting industry.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Jurisprudence
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies