Legal profession in ancient India

Nimisha Jha
Assistant Professor (Law),
Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal.


The following paper discusses about the Legal profession in Ancient India. As per the ancient Hindu Law, every individual has a right to be represented by a person who is more adept at the legal intricacies. The paper discusses about the ‘appointment of a vakeel’ in Vivadarnavasetu (Ch. III, II). The paper also quotes K. P. Jayaswal and the reasoning of P. V. Kane. Kane states two sources, namely Naradsmriti (1.4) and Sukranitisara. Other luminaries such as U. C. Sarkar and P. Varadachariar have also opined on the aforementioned topic. The paper moves forth to the textual data which is inclusive of Naradsmriti (2.22), Brihaspatismriti (1.142), Katyayanasmriti (89 – 95), Vyasa’s Shlokas, Pitamaha, Kautilya’s Arthashashtra. In conclusion, the main point of contention is the existence of the legal profession in ancient India. It is very interesting to think that the ancient laws of Dharmashastra did not include the institution of legal practitioners. The texts of Sukranitisara is the most reliable source when it comes to the recognition of the idea of legal representatives.

Keywords: Dharmashashtra, Hindu Law, Vakeel, legal representatives, Sanskrit.

Preferred Citation

Nimisha Jha, Legal profession in ancient India, The Lex-Warrier: Online Law Journal (2018) 4, pp. 195 – 210, ISSN (O): 2319-8338

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