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Special law and Local law

Section 41: A “special law” is a law applicable to a particular subject.

Laws dealing with special subjects are called special laws. The special laws contemplated in section 40 and this section are only laws, such as the Excise, Opium, Cattle Trespass, Gambling and Railway Acts, creating fresh offences, that is, laws making punishable certain things which are not already punishable under the Penal Code.

According to the Supreme Court as observed in Kaushalya Rani v Gopal Singh1) 'A 'special law' means a law, enacted for special causes, in special circumstances, in contradiction to the general rules of the law, laid down as applicable generally to all cases with which the general law deals'.

The Central Reserve Police Force Act 1949 is a special law within the meaning of the term defined in section 49, IPC, and therefore by virtue of the effect of section 5, CrPC, the provisions of the CrPC are inapplicable to the matters covered by the said Act of 1949.2)

Salmond divides the whole body of law, the entire corpus juris into two parts: General Law and Special Law.

Section 42: A “local law” is a law applicable only to a particular part of India.

Just as a 'special law' is confined to a particular subject a 'local law' is confined to a particular locality. Laws applicable to a particular locality only are termed local laws e.g., Port Trust Acts, The Kerala Municipality Act 1994.

AIR 1964 SC 260
Hanuman Singh v Union of India (1997) Cr LJ 1054 (Raj)

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