This article is written by Sakshi Jha of 3rd Semester of Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, an intern under Legal Vidhiya
A key component of Hindu law is the concept of the “joint family,” which is defined as a group of people who live together under one roof, including their common ancestor and his male lineal descendants, as well as other members like spouses, daughters, and single people, sharing everything in common. Hindu laws state that there is an assumption that every family will be regarded as a joint family. The Hindu law has two schools of law, namely: Mitakshara School of Law and Dayabhaga School of Law. This paper will be focusing on these schools of laws.
Keyword: Joint Hindu Family, Mitakshara School of Law, Dayabhaga School of Law.
Hindu law is regarded as the oldest and most extensive legal system in existence. It has existed throughout every stage. It dates back roughly 6000 years. Hindu law was not created to eradicate all crime and wrongdoing from society; rather, it was formed by the people to ensure that they would adhere to it in order to be saved.
It was initially formed, for the fulfillment of the needs of the people. The idea was developed for the benefit of the populace.
According to the Oxford dictionary, when grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins all live together in the same home, they are referred to as “joint family.” Similarly, Members of Hindu joint families are related through a shared ancestor. Consequently, a male head and his progeny—including their wives and single daughters—are encompassed.
The commentaries and digests led to the development of the Schools of Hindu law. These institutions specifically contributed to the advancement of Hindu law while broadening its application. There are two Schools of Hindu Law:
- Mitakshara School of Law
- Dayabhaga School of Law
- To study about the Mitakshara School of Law
- To study about the Dayabhaga School of Law
- What did the Mitakshara School of Law talk about?
- What did the Dayabhaga School of Law talk about?
- What is the difference between Mitakshara and Dayabhaga School of Law?
Any research can be conducted using either a non-doctrinal or conceptual method. Using previously available information from the library and internet sources, the doctrinal technique entails conducting research, evaluating the findings, and repeating the process. On the other hand, non-doctrinal research entails going on a field trip and acquiring data from authentic sources.
However, the current study was conducted utilizing the doctrinal method because it involves a theoretical analysis of numerous papers, journals, books, newspaper pieces, and judicial decisions. The current study used logical, narrative, and critical approaches to achieve its objective.
- “Succession Under Classical Hindu Law: A Comparative Study Between Dayabhaga and Mitakshara Schools” by Sachin Drall: The goal of this essay is to give a thorough analysis of succession in traditional Hindu law. It has often been said that because Hindu Dharma is so old, it is hard to place it in a certain era.
- “Mitakshara and Dayabhaga schools of Hindu Jurisprudence” by Pradeep Verma: Hindu jurists from the Dayabhaga and Mitaksahara schools, the contrasts between joint family configurations under the two great schools of Hindu jurisprudence—the Dayabhaga and Mitakshara—were the sole focus of this paper.
- “Daya-bhaga and Mitakshara: Two Treatises of Hindu law of Inheritance” by K.L.Joshi: It is a book that discusses the two schools of Hindu law; i.e., Mitakshara and Dayabhaga Schools. It discussed the right of inheritance the members of the Hindu Joint Family get under these two schools.
The two Hindu legal schools that have influenced India’s inheritance rules are Mitakshara and Dayabhaga.
The Hindu legal system known as Mitakshara is widely practised in western and southern India. Its source is a commentary on the Yajnavalkya Smriti penned by Vijnaneswara in the twelfth century. Coparcenary is a fundamental idea in this school. This indicates that all male descendants have equal ownership and rights over ancestral property. The right of daughters to inherit property is also recognised by the Mitakshara school, albeit with certain restrictions.
Another school of Hindu law that is primarily prevalent in Bengal and the eastern regions of India is called Dayabhaga. It originates from a 13th-century Jimutavahana commentary on the Yajnavalkya Smriti. Not like Mitakshara, Dayabhaga does not take coparcenary into account. Rather, it places more emphasis on private property ownership. At this school, property is inherited according to the lineal succession theory, which states that the closest male relative in the family gets the land. Under this school, daughters also have the ability to inherit property, but their rights are more limited and contingent on certain requirements.
MITAKSHARA SCHOOL OF LAW:
Mitakshara is one of the most important schools of Hindu law. It is the continuous commentary of Yajnvalkya on the Smriti. This school covers all of India, with the exception of West Bengal and Assam.
The Mitakshara’s jurisdiction is extremely broad. However, due to the many customs that each region adheres to, legal practice varies throughout the nation.
According to the Mitakshara Law School, a joint family is made up of the male head of the household and his son, grandson, and great-grandson. They are coparcenaries and co-owners in the Joint Family. Thus, a son by birth becomes entitled to a portion of the ancestral property of the joint family.
The five smaller schools that make up the Mitakshara school differ from one another in a few specific areas, most notably adoption and inheritance. While all of these schools recognize Mitakshara as the ultimate authority, they give special weight to treatises and commentaries that interpret particular sections of Mitakshara. The variations amongst such schools can be explained by this.
They are as follows:
- Benares Law School
- Maharashtrian Law School
- Mithila Law School
- Dravida or Madras Law School
- Punjab Law School
Benares Law School:
Under the Mitakshara Law School’s direction, this law school provides services to Orissa and the rest of Northern India. Viramitrodaya Nirnyasindhu Vivada’s commentary is one of its most significant works.
Maharashtrian Law School:
Territories over which the Maharashtra Law School can exercise jurisdiction include the Gujarat Karana and territories where Marathi is a common language. Principals of these schools include Vyavhara Mayukha, Virmitrodaya, and others.
Mithila Law School:
This legal school has jurisdiction over the regions of Tirhoot and North Bihar. The legal school paradigm is prevalent in the North. The three primary commentaries of this school are Vivedaratnakar, Vivadachintamani, and Smritsara.
Dravida or Madras Law School:
Typically, this law school teaches students from all throughout southern India. It also uses Mitakshara Law School to carry out its authority. This school’s principal authorities include Vaijayanti, Smriti Chandrika, and others.
Punjab Law School:
The majority of this law school’s founding occurred in east Punjab. It has developed unique traditions and customs. This school’s primary commentaries are viramitrodaya and its established practises.
Hindu law states that male family members with the birth right to an interest in the coparcenary property—such as grandsons and great-grandsons—developed the coparcenary notion in its entirety.
In the case of Venugopala v. Union of India, it was decided that the conception of a son’s birth right—that is, a son’s son’s son—is the foundation of the Mitakshara School of Coparcenary. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 adhered to all of these principles; however, the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 recently amended this by granting a coparcenary to even a daughter under the joint family.
A daughter can be a coparcener but the widow of the son cannot be according to Section 6 of the Act. This was decided in the case Subhash Eknathrao Khandekar v. Pragyabai Manohar Birader.
Therefore, it is evident from all of the instances that a female cannot be a part of a coparcenary at Mitakshara School, neither by getting into a Joint Family arrangement nor with the coparceners. The restriction on coparcenary male descendants to four-degree lineal descendants is a legal construct.
Property shares in the joint family will not be set or specified until the division is completed. Individuals’ interests are subject to fluctuations and unpredictability due to family events like as births and deaths, which impact each person’s share.
Each occupant of a joint family home is eligible for maintenance. The Joint family will provide maintenance to all of the members, mostly the female members, who are disqualified from receiving any share from the family, or who are unmarried daughters.
A Karta is a person who rises to a significant position within the joint family property. His main duty is to advocate for or represent his family members. He is the one on whom the entire family depends since they have a fiduciary relationship and always want someone to oversee and manage the family’s well-being without any problems. Thus, the Karta will provide upkeep as well as look after the females and minors in the joint household. The Karta may be sued for both the maintenance and the arrears of the maintenance if he neglects to provide it. Along with any debts the family may have at any given moment, he is accountable for providing maintenance to the unmarried daughters in the joint family. As a result, maintaining a Joint Family member and continuing the business will be a Karta’s responsibility.
In Shreeama v. Krishavenanama, it is noted that the senior male can hold the Kartaship and be Karta without the coparceners’ approval or assent.
According to the ruling in Narendra Kumar v. Commissioner of Income Tax, a junior male can become a Karta if the coparceners reach a consensus or understanding.
- Dayabhaga Law School:
West Bengal and Assam were primarily where the Dayabhaga school was practised. One of the most significant schools of Hindu law is also this one. It is regarded as the leading smriti’s digest. Dealing with division, inheritance, and joint families was its main goal. Kane claims that it was incorporated sometime between 1090 and 1130 A.D.
The primary foundation of Dayabhaga School is the yagnavalkya code as remarked by Jimutuvahana. Inheritance is predicated on the idea of spiritual gain. It is created by giving rice balls, or pinda offerings, to departed ancestors.
The Dayabhaga school’s mission was to refute all other absurd and fabricated theories on inheritance. The incorporation of several cognates in the list of heirs, which was restricted by the Mitakshara school, and the desire to eliminate the flaws and limitations of the preceding rules are the new digest’s current advantages.
In Dayabhaga school various other commentaries were followed such as:
- Dattaka chandrika
The main features of this school are:
- The son gets the right to the Hindu Joint Family Property only after the father’s death; not from birth.
- Inheritance is the method by which property breakdown occurs. After the father’s passing, the sons who are the legal heirs will receive certain shares.
- Each brother can transfer his share of the joint family property as he owns a certain portion of it.
- In the event that there are no male heirs, the widow is entitled to inherit her husband’s share and enforce the division.
- Following her husband’s death, the widow shares a parcel with her other brothers. She is able to make her portion get divided.
Upon his father’s passing, the son may inherit the property. Similarly, a son’s male or female heirs may inherit his property upon his death. In the event that the son passes away and leaves widows or daughters behind, they will be eligible to inherit the possessions and become coparceners. The ability for female students to become co-residents is the primary distinction between these two colleges. Each coparcener takes a specific part in this instance, ensuring unity of ownership.
Both Apratibandha daya (Unobstructed Heritage) and Sapratibandha daya (Obstructed Heritage) are the classifications given to the properties by the Dayabhaga school. Unobstructed Heritage is not acknowledged at this school, though. The Obstructed Heritage oversees the entirety of this school’s grounds.
As in other schools, Karta will be the oldest male student here. The Mitakshara School’s power, liabilities, and alienation power are comparable.
Difference between Mitakshara and Dayabhaga Schools of Law:
The difference between Mitakshara and Dayabhaga Schools of Law can be classified as follows:
- Joint Family: A joint family, according to the Mitakshara Law School, consists solely of the male family member and consists of his great-grandson, grandson, and son. In the Joint Family, they are co-owners and coparcenaries together. As such, a son by birth becomes entitled to share in the joint family’s ancestral property. According to the Dayabhaga Law School, the son gains ownership rights upon his father’s passing rather than having them automatically from birth.
- Coparcenary/Co-ownership: During the father’s lifetime, each member of the Joint family is granted coparcenary privileges under the Mitakshara Law School. According to the Dayabhaga School, sons do not have coparcenary rights while their father is still living; instead, they get them upon his passing.
- Partition: In Mitakshara School of Law it is possible to partition the joint property. If so, it will be divided similarly to how it was for the father. Whereas in Dayabhaga School of Law, one can divide with their share easily because of the way the shares are defined.
Hindu law states that male family members with the birthright to an interest in the coparcenary property such as grandsons and great-grandsons—developed the coparcenary notion in the main.
No female Mitakshara coparcenary can become a coparcenary; nonetheless, she will always remain a member of the Joint Family.
In Dayabhaga, the family members don’t get the property in the joint Hindu family by birth but get so only after their father’s death.
The female Dayabhaga coparcenary can become a coparcener just like their fellow male coparceners.
 “Succession Under Classical Hindu Law: A Comparative Study Between Dayabhaga and Mitakshara Schools” by Sachin Drall
 Verma, P. ‘ “Mitakshara and Dayabhaga schools of Hindu Jurisprudence” ’.
 Joshi, K.L.
 Venugopala v. Union of India
 Subhash Eknathrao Khandekar v. Pragyabai Manohar Birader
 Shreeama v. Krishavenanama
 Narendra Kumar v. Commissioner of Income Tax
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