Customs are those rules which are established by usage. But the question is which rules are considered as Custom? If we delve into the fact, Sati Pratha was a Custom if Hindu Culture but people stopped following it after the initiative taken by Raja Ram Mohan Roy. In the same way, Dowry System was a custom and still prevailing in various parts of the Country bug it has been criminalized by the competent authority along with Child marriage. These were the practices that violated the principles of a valid custom due to which people stopped following it. But the next question is What is the requisite of a Valid Custom or why any practice is considered as Custom?
Essentials of Valid Custom -
1. Antiquity: The word 'antiquity' itself expressed that the custom must be ancient. It should be followed by people in Ancient Era or mentioned in Manu Smirti, Kiran, or any other Holy book or Script or conveyed by Saints or Philosophers. For eg- Kanyadan was first practiced in the Vijayanagara Empire in South India during the 15th century and it is still prevalent in Hindu Wedding Rituals.
2. Continuance: It means the practice should be performed without any interruption which means any practice should be continuance in nature. For instance- Nowadays, Sati Pratha is not performed from last decade but if suddenly a group of people starts performing it again then it will not amount to Custom. If we conclude this point it means if any practice is not performed from the past few years then one can't start it again and declare it as a custom.
3. Peaceable Enjoyment: It means the practice should not involve any kind of violence or any activity which harms other sections of society. The main objective behind custom is to specify certain guidelines to live their life peacefully and happily with each other. But if the objective of the custom is frustrated due to the custom then it won't be considered as Custom. For instance- Caste System was prevailing in Indian History and people used to get work as per their caste which gave rise to Untouchability. The people of the lower caste were exploited the most due to it. So, Untouchability was Criminalised though it is still prevailing in the country.
4. Consistency: It means the custom must be consistent with the general principle of Law i.e Justice, fairness, and liberty. For instance- any practice which is taking away the rights of people or the caste system is discriminatory. So it should not be considered as Custom. But if there is any practice to uplift weaker sections of society then it should be considered fair enough to be custom.
5. Conformity with Statute Law: Statute law is the existing law of Land and no Custom should be contravention to the existing law of Land. It means any custom is valid until declared void by the competent authority. There are many instances where it has been observed where the practice was a Custom but later on it has been declared void by the Judiciary or Legislators. Apart from this, various other essentials of Valid Custom is Unambiguous, matter if rights, universality. So, these are the points on basis of which practice or usage becomes a Valid Custom.