Dispute Settlement In A Hindu Community Of Kampala
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This thesis proposes to examine the dispute settlement in the Hindu community of Bakuli, Kampala. The monograph shows the way different kinds of disputes are settled in Bakuli outside the realm of national law. Uganda constitutes a number of groups who enjoy the security provided by the state law through its judiciary and police services. The Asians, who trace their origin in India or Pakistan, have lived in Uganda since the beginning of this century. They, however, do not comprise a single homogeneous community but divide themselves into numerous groups along linguistic, religious, and other grounds. This thesis attempts to illustrate how these groups evoke, outside law courts, standardized procedures for settling differences between themselves at local level. Disputes happen in all societies which usually employ some means of sorting out the troubles between the adversaries. The disputes occuring in Bakuli fall under the following headings: 1. The Disputes about Boys and Girls: ^ The Hindu communities always emphasize tL polarity between sexes. The separation of sexes reduces all the possibilities of inter-group sex relationships for this may threaten endogamy on which the exclusiveness of different groups rests. Whenever such contacts between males and females become socially visible, this may generate tensions and conflicts. These may become disputes by drawing much public attention. Whenever such a dispute among the Hindus occurs, the members of Bhaianraandali are summoned to settle the differences and to prevent outbursts of hostility -III- and violence. Being influential in the neighborhood, the members of this hymn-singing religious fraternity perform a jural role in the dispute settlement process. 2. Matrimonial Disputest Disputes between husband and wife, often straining the relationship between the two, is a fairly common feature of life in Bakuli. More often than not, these disputes are rooted in unstable relationship between husband, his mother, and his wife. These matrimonial disputes go to different sources for their settlement. Elders in one's groups obviously provide one locus of bringing pressures on husband and wife so tha# they may not abandon each other and retain the unity within the joint family. Sane of these disputes often go to the lawyers who may help to settle the differences between spouses rather than let them take up the matter to the law courts, for the Divorce Ordinance of Uganda does not easily permit the dissolution of marriage. 3. Rent Disputes: Mailo land of Buganda affects the non-African residents of Bakuli. For the law requires the non-African lessee of mailo land to obtain consents from government authorities before he can let his mailo to other non- Africans. As the process of obtaining consent is often lengthy and expensive, many landlords have no consents to back up agreements they enter into with their tenants. Consequently, in disputes about collection of arrears, landlords have no legally enforceable rights. The landlords attempt to settle these differences with their tenants by calling in lawyers or their clerks who then provide a way of settling disputes. 4. Business Disputesi The businesses in many Asian communities of Uganda are centered at family level. Families often provide a -IV- model to those who want to form a partnership. In absence of legal agreements between the members of the family or partners, disputes can be settled only outside the law courts. 5. Police and Settlement of Disputes In many disputes the Asians living in Balculi call in the police constables in the initial stages of hostility. They go to the police station, not very much to use the available procedures of punishing their adversary but merely to frighten him. In a number of cases the disputants retreat from the police station and reach a compromise. Finally, this thesis shows how a dispute settlement process is informal when the principles, procedures, and personnel involved in it vary from the national legal system.
University of Nairobi