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Report No. 66

3.4. Heritable property.-

As to the first aspect-fluctuations in legal rights-the participation of women in heritable property1 may be taken as an instance. In the Hindu system, Bhattacharya traces two antagonist principles-one excluding women generally from inheritance, and the other giving them partial right. But he adds that jealousy and antagonism are equally discernible. Bhattacharya2 further states, that, in general, exclusion is the primitive type, while admission to partial rights is modern; but he points out that the law is not continuously progressive in every case. Thus, for example, though, the law of property promulgated in the Dayabhaga is of later growth than the Mitakshara system, yet the Mitakshara3 is in advance of the Dayabhaga4 as regards the rights of the daughter in the father's property where there are sons existing.

1. See also para. 3.28, infra.

2. Bhattacharya Joint Hindu Family, (T.L.L. 1884, 1885) pp. 63-64.

3. Mitakshara, Chapter 1, section 1, paras. 11 & 14.

4. Dayabhaga, Chapter 3, section 1, paras. 36 & 37.

3.4A. Right of Hindu Woman recognized a long before its admission elsewhere.-

Secondly, we would like to point out that the right of a woman to hold separate property of her own was recognized in the Hindu law, long before it was admitted in the European countries.1

Thus, presents given to a woman at her marriage by her own relations or her husband, and what she received after marriage from her husband and his family belonged to her, though the husband had certain claims thereto. Property received by a maiden in the shape of ornaments or other presents from her own family or from her affianced bridegroom was regarded as her own property. Women had considerable right of disposal of property much earlier than elsewhere. All these features indicate a comparatively liberal attitude in regard to property rights.

1. P.S. Sivaswami Iyer Evolution of Hindu Moral Ideals, (Kamla Lectures, University of Calcutta), (1935), p. 50.

Married Womens Property Act, 1874 Back

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