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A Custom is a rule in force by virtue of long usage and has obtained the force of law. It can be private, public or a general custom (local customs, caste or class customs and trade customs)
- The Burden of proof of a custom lies on the party claiming it.
- A right of custom can be proved by:
- By direct evidence
- By evidence of the acts of the kind, and acquiescence in those acts
- By the decision of courts recognizing the custom which is relevant under Section 42
- By declaration of deceased persons in cases of public right or custom under Section 32
- By evidence of opinions of persons who are in a position to know of the existence of a custom or usage in their locality under Section 48
- By judicial notice of custom or right forming part of Indian law such as Hindu Law or Mohammedan Law under Section 57
Local customs are no longer a direct source of law but their application by the courts brought them into the common law.
Related Cases / Recent Cases
- Ramakrishna Mohapatra and others vs Gangadhar Mohapatra and others, AIR 1958 Ori 26. Divisional Bench of Orissa High Court laid down some rules for proving a custom.
- New Windsor Corporation v Mellor  Ch 380,  3 All ER 44: Rights to indulge in sports and pastimes on a village green
- Mercer v Denne  2 Ch 538: Rights to dry shing nets on land within a parish.
- Mills v Colchester Corporation (1867) LR 2 CP 476; Alfred F Beckett Ltd v Lyons  Ch 449,  1 All ER 833: Where the right to fish depended upon the grant of a licence by the owners of an oyster fishery, it was held that there was no custom since enjoyment had never been as of right.