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Definition and Interpretation of Muslim Law in South Asia: the Case of Gifts To Minors

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Because the personal law applicable to Muslims in South Asia is almost totally uncodified, it is almost totally to be found in the decisions of the Courts which discover and apply it. Development of law on a case-law basis provides scope for both error and evolution. This paper focuses on the question of gifts to minors by looking at a pivotal Privy Council decision of 1928; the restrictive interpretation placed on that decision by the Courts of British India; and the manner in which the decision of the Privy Council has been distinguished, ignored, or superseded by the Courts of post-Partition India and Pakistan in decisions resurrecting pre-1928 case-law and invoking the authorities which underlay, and the textbook comments which reflected, the earlier position.


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