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Report No. 66

VII. Developments as to Power of Disposition

3.25. Right of disposal.-

At this stage, it may be convenient to recapitulate the developments in regard to right of disposal of property. The Hindu wife's right of disposal of property seems to have undergone several vicissitudes in the course of history. Vedic literature is silent as to whether the wife could dispose of the property without her husband's permission. During secular developments in course of time, the question duly received the attention of jurists. In the beginning, the Smriti writers1 were not prepared to invest the woman with full powers, and would insist on the husband's sanction but in course of time the iniquity of this position was realised, and they later divided the property into two categories-Saudayika and A-Saudayika.

The first category of property included gifts given at the time of marriage by relations out of affection; such property was under the complete control of the women. Property in the second category-though technically it was the property of the woman-could not be alienated by her, though she could enjoy the property. It may be that the restriction in the case of the second category was linked with the joint family concept, since it was not in the interest of the joint family to allow the co-parcener to fritter away its resources by allowing the husband to make an unconditional gift to his wife-the gifts in the second category property would be usually of the family property.

1. Manu, 9, 299.

Married Womens Property Act, 1874 Back

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