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Law and the Economy in Colonial India$
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Tirthankar Roy and Anand V. Swamy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226387642

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226387789.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Contract: Late Westernization

Contract: Late Westernization

(p.123) Seven Contract: Late Westernization
Law and the Economy in Colonial India

Tirthankar Roy

Anand V. Swamy

University of Chicago Press

As in property, in commercial law, an initial preference for recourse to indigenous law and practices needed to change. The idea of a contract law did exist in India, and British jurists tried to revive these laws. But the revived laws were never actively used. Impersonal and secular laws of business could not be found written down anywhere; no courts existed where such laws had been recently applied, whereas at the same time, the scope of business transactions between parties that did not share similar customs expanded enormously. The response to this uncertainty was the Indian Contract Act, 1872, which broke with indigenous law and custom. But the journey towards codification was marked by trade disputes, one of which was particularly violent. The chapter describes this journey.

Keywords:   commercial law, Indian Contract Act, codification, trade disputes

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