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Report No. 66

3.30. Concept in Mitakshara.-

The Mitakshara thus includes all property belonging to a woman, in the term 'stridhana', and it nowhere imposes any limitation as to her dominion over it. There are restrictions and prohibitions upon her husband and any other kinsmen using her property, but none upon the woman herself. It should, further, be stated that the Mitakshara, after referring to Manu's enumeration of Stridhana, observes:

"The enumeration of six sorts of women's property by Manu is intended not as a restriction of greater number, but as a denial of less."

It is scarcely necessary to say that Vijnaneswara's statement that stridhana is not to be understood in a technical sense (Mitak, Chapter II, section 11, S. 3) was not a mere philological observation. "By laying down that proposition, Vijnaneswara and other great commentators, who followed him, succeeded in effecting a beneficial change in the archaic Smriti law and placed women almost on a footing of equality with men as regards the capacity to hold property.1"

This view of the commentator, at once just liberal and correct, was unfortunately rejected by the Privy Council2.

Mulla has the following comment3:

"Lastly, we shall note how the Judicial Committee has, notwithstanding repeated warnings given by it that the Courts of India should take the Hindu law not from the Smritis, but from the commentaries brushed aside the whole of Vijnaneswara's expansion of the word 'adya'."

1. Salemma v. Lutchmana, 1898 ILR 21 Mad 100 (103).

2. Bhagwandeen v. Mine Ball, (1867) 11 MIA 482.

3. Mulla Hindu Law, (1974), p. 168.

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