The Changing Contours of Family in India in the past 75 years and the Family Law Teaching in Interdisciplinary Perspective

Organizer: Dr. Subba Rao. S and Mr. A. Nirmal Singh Heera (Inter Disciplinary Discussion
Date:14 th December 2021
Time: 5:30 PM
Platform: Online - Webex
Level of Programme: Intra-University


The Inter Disciplinary Discussion event as a part of Suthanthira Thirunaal Amudha Peruvizha (STAP) started at 5.30 PM on 14.12.2021 (Tueesday). The event was held through the Online Cisco Webex platform. Mr. A. Nirmal Singh Heera, Assistant Professor (Law) formally welcomed the gathering and requested Prof (Dr.) V.S. Elizabeth, The Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, TNNLU to introduce the resource person Prof (Dr.) Vijender Kumar, The Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU), Nagpur. After which, the floor was handed over to the guest speaker. Prof. (Dr.) Vijender Kumar underscored the fact that the title on which he was supposed to speak has two facets viz., how the notion of family per se has changed in last 75 years which can be understood both from a sociological and economic perspective and the second point is on the Interdisciplinary perspective of teaching family law. Prof. Vijendar Kumar pointed out the fact that teaching family law is not merely teaching the personal laws of Hindus, Christians, Mohammadeans, Parsis etc., but it is beyond them, meaning, the whole lot of principles and jurisprudence behind the laws with an interdisciplinary flavor has to be touched upon so as to get a fuller picture of the subject. As stressed by Prof. Vijender Kumar, the ideal place to start the course is to teach on the journey of codification of personal laws which ultimately materialized in 1955. The need to mention the development of family law from the nascent to the mature stage is pivotal in the understanding the subject.

Thereafter, the idea of family as a fundamental unit of the society needs to be emphasised. As a social scientist, as an economist, as a lawyer, the institution of family needs to be viewed so as to figure out how family has travelled from what it was in the primitive and medieval period, to what it is in the modern contemporary times. With that said, Prof. Vijender turned his attention on three key words in the course namely person, status and rights. The interplay between these words was explained in detail as to how it fits in the overall framework of the subject. Special emphasis was also made on section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 which deals on the aspect of legitimacy for a child born out of void and voidable marriage, besides the 1976 amendment was also cited. Prof. Vijender Kumar also commented on the legal nuances involved in the succession to property from the perspective of the daughter.

Having more than two decades of experience in teaching family law, Prof. Vijender Kumar brilliantly helped the participants to understand how to approach family law. As followed in NLSIU, Bangalore in the earlier times, the importance of cooperative teaching was called for so as to have an interdisciplinary perspective. Thereafter, the floor was opened for questions. Mr. Nirmal Singh Heera, Assistant Professor of Law, Dr. Anil Kumar, Assistant Professor of English and Ms. Shanti Samandha, Assistant Professor of Law raised certain queries on the subject matter and they were also answered by the resource person.

Finally, Mr. Royal Raj S, Assistant Professor of Law delivered the vote of thanks to Prof. Vijedner Kumar for sharing his rich experiences with the TNNLU family. Gratitude was also extended to Prof (Dr.) V.S. Elizabeth, the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, TNNLU, faculty colleagues, administrative staff, IT sections, and all other students who actively participated in the smooth conduct of the event. With this, the event came to an end at 6.45 pm.