Jurisprudence or legal theory is philosophical aspects of law consisting of collection of rules to regulate the conduct or behaviour of citizens of any nation. The realization of such enforced rules started with understanding of responsibilities and apprehension of civilized society. Religion played an important role to frame code of conducts. Religious texts of Sanatana Dharma being older and literary rich in nature have contributed vastly in enrichment of theories of law.
A classical concept is well known as Aachaara or fixed rule of conduct in life. It is basis of customary laws mentioned in Vedas and other Hindu religious texts and still exercised by the people in India. It is well related with Dharmashastrokta (mentioned in religious texts) code of conduct. Religious commands in forms of various rules and moral responsibilities were practiced in extensile in India. For understanding responsibilities by kings, ministers, people involved with different functionaries and for everyone, written code of conducts were cited in Vedas, Smritis and Darshanas. Narada Smriti, Brihaspati Smriti and Katyayana Smriti make references in details about the civil and criminal laws.
Naradiya Dharmashastra has mentioned about the judicial procedures, inflicting punishments, law-suits (for wager and non-wager), different types of councils viz., family-councils, assemblies of cohabitants etc. Importance if witnesses for the deposition of issues of cases is acknowledged. Recovery of a debt and deposits, breach of order, law of inheritance, abuse and assaults, various other civil, criminal and miscellaneous disputes are attended. Advisories for various aspects like for minor etc. are also given.
Many of rules and responsibilities in forms of Sutras were commended by Chanakya in 4th century BCE. His composition Arthashastra was a complete guide for a King to rule with details of statecraft. Details of taxation and ‘Rajdharma’ (duties of king) to maintain law and order were presented. This book cited legal system with duties and responsibilities of officers of different levels and categories in kingdom. King being on top of system had extensive power as Apex court to protect the law based on religion, evidences, written laws etc. Chanakya had shown the impartiality of King by quote, ‘in the happiness of his subjects lies the King’s happiness’.