Dharma as Law and Justice

The Legal Gazette
3 min readJul 19, 2021


Dharma, in concept, deals with duty, religion, and inseparable quality of a thing or orders i.e. virtuous conduct of righteous man, and dharma in literal sense means ‘something which sustains or upholds’. In Jurisprudence, Dharma would be referred to as the Indian version of Natural Law. Dharma is primarily based on the Vedas and has many indices such as Sruti, Smriti, and moral laws (Samachar) and governed the lives of people in ancient times.

Dharma shapes the fundamental establishment of Indian law. Due to its importance in Hindu practices, Dharma accepted a significant part in shaping Indian law. Dharma was a duty-based legal system that is every individual owed a duty to other members of society. Dharma, as been said by Justice M. Rama Jois is, “Dharma is that which sustains and ensures progress and welfare of all in this world and eternal bliss in the other world. The Dharma is promulgated in the form of command”.

Origin of Dharma

Dharma originated from Vedas which are Sruti (heard knowledge) and they are the supreme source of knowledge for humans, as the narration of what is heard from the ancient priests that is Sruti and they contains narration on everything possible ranging from military to politics to common people’s life. Its other sources are Smriti, which is the interpretation of Vedas and four sages that have propounded the dharmasastras and are called Smritikars. They are:

  1. Manu
  2. Yagnavalkaya
  3. Brihaspati
  4. Narada

The other source has been Puranas which are eighteen in number and contains information about the creation and dynasties of gods, sages, and kings and detailed descriptions of yugas. All the sources are on the same footstep and no one has supremacy over the other.

The idea which made people adhere to the Dharma can be illustrated by one verse from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad which is, “punyo vai punyena Karmana bhavati, Papah Papeneti”, meaning ‘everyone becomes good by good deeds and bad by bad deeds, in other words, ‘every one reaps what he sows’ and what’s good is defined by Dharma.

Comparison between Dharma and Modern Law

  1. Dharma implies routineness of order generally acknowledged, it incorporates religion, obligation, and inseparable of a quality or an order, though present-day law depends on reasons and incorporates strict viewpoints.
  2. Dharma is an obligation-based idea, anyway the current law centers around rights instead of obligations.
  3. Dharma preassumes a power and ties together by the dread of a similar extraordinary yet then again, the law depends on sensibility and ties through lawful assents given by courts (human).

Evolving Concept of Dharma in Law

The concept of dharma or simply dharma has been used by various courts in helping them to arrive at decisions even by the Honourable Supreme Court in many cases. Dharma s distinct from religion this has been laid down in Shri A.S. Narayana Deekshitulu vs State Of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. Dharma even regulates the law today, by means of morality in and outside the courts. Dharma thought to be an orthodox area is used in the cases of much unorthodox prima facie such as rights to transgenders as in the case National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India and others, 2014 Indlaw SC 250.

That's all from us

Take Care

Prajna Priyadarshini


  1. https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/dharma-and-law/#_ftnref24
  2. https://thelawexpress.com/the-concept-of-dharma-in-indian-jurisprudence



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