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Mitakshara School of Hindu Law

The codification of laws in numerous areas has occurred under modern Hindu law. However, there are still instances where codification is lacking. Hindu law schools have played an important role in these areas.


The evolution of several commentaries and digests can be traced back to the origins of the various schools of Hindu law. Hindu law is divided into two schools.
  1. The Mitakshara School
  2. The Dayabhaga School
There are several sub-schools within the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law.

In this article, I will make a descriptive study of The Mitakshara School.

Origin of Mitakshara School

One of the two major Hindu law schools is Mitakshara.

Let us examine the "Smriti" in order to gain a better understanding of this school of law. Smriti is regarded as one of the most important Hindu legal texts. The literary meaning of the word "Smriti" is "something that has been remembered." Smriti has a religious connection as a source of law. The Smritis' subject matter is derived from sages' memories. The sages preserved the sacred revelation in their memories. The sacred revelation, as the name implies, is the revelation to humans of sacred realities and sacred notions.

Etymology
Let us return to the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law and look at its etymology. The name of the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law comes from a commentary. Vijnaneshwara, a well-known Indian legal scholar, prepared legal work for King Vikramaditya in the twelfth century. Mitakshara was the title of a legal work based on "Yajnavakalya Smriti."

The Mitakshara School of Hindu Law takes its name from Vijnaneshwara's Mitakshara commentary. Vijnaneshwara's "Mitakshara" is more than a commentary on "the Yajnavakalya Smriti." It is a collection of several well-known Smritis. It is also extensive, as it covers almost all aspects of Hindu law.

Geographical prevalence
Mitakshara's followers belong to the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law. In India, the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law is well-known. Except for West Bengal and Assam, it is followed in every state in India.

Features
The Mitakshara school of Hindu law specifies particular structures and procedures that must be followed when deciding succession and inheritance concerns.

Let's look at each one separately:
Proximity of Relation
The Mitakshara school of Hindu Law, as an orthodox ideology school, has emphasised and recognised the doctrine of propinquity. The term "propinquity" can be defined as determining the order of heirs' preferences in order to determine succession based on the magnitude of the relationship's proximity. In addition to the "propinquity" rule, the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law establishes a number of distinctions to be followed when deciding issues of inheritance and succession.

Exclusion of female
Females are barred from inheriting property, according to the Mitakshara School of Hindu law. As a result, regardless of her proximity to the property owner, a female has no right of inheritance. This regressive gender discrimination is frequently criticised. However, this discriminatory feature has been removed from modern "Hindu Law." The Hindu Succession Act was amended in 2005 to give men and women equal status[1].

Agnates and Cognates
Agnates take precedence over cognates in the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law. "A person is an agnate of someone if the two are related to each other by a blood relation or by adoption process wholly through males"[2] and "a person is a cognate of someone if the two are related to each other by a blood relation or by adoption process but not wholly through males."[3] As a result, this succession provision is also discriminatory against women.

Privileges awarded to sons
"By birth, a son has a right in the joint family property," according to the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law. The Mitakshara School of Hindu Law has made a unique contribution to Hindu Law jurisprudence. A son obtains his share of interest in a joint family property from the first moment of his existence in the world, according to the Mitakshara School of Hindu law.

Doctrine of survivorship
The "principle of survivorship" is another Mitakshara School of Hindu Law principle that is related to the aforementioned principle. The succession of a joint family is determined by the magnitude of length of life among coparceners, rather than by inheritance, according to this principle of survivorship. This means that the inheritors of joint family property are among the coparceners, those who live longer.

Volatility of shares
"Community of ownership" and "unity of possession" are two other important Mitakshara School of Hindu Law principles related to joint family property succession. According to these principles, no coparcener has a fixed share in the respective joint family property prior to its partition. The coparceners' interest is volatile, as it is subject to the group's potential death or birth. There will be more divisions and decreases in shares if more sons are born. If any of the existing coparceners die, the share of the remaining coparceners will rise.

In addition to these Mitakshara schools of Hindu Law principles and doctrines, the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law has several sub-schools.

Schools under the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law
Benares School
Except for rural Punjab, the Benares School of Mitakshara is practised throughout northern India. The authority of the Benares School comes from a variety of sources. These are Viramitrodaya, Nirnayasindhu, Dattaka Mimansa, Vivada Tandava, Subodhini, and Balam-Bhatti.

Mithila School
The Mithila School, which is part of the Mitakshara School of Hindu law, is based in Tirhut and parts of northern Bihar. Vivada Ratnakar, Vivada Chintamani, Smriti Sara or Smrityarthasara, and Madana Paruata are the main authorities of the Mithila School of Mitakshara School of Hindu Law.

Bombay School
In Bombay and Gujarat, the Bombay School of Mitakshara School of Hindu Law has its followers. Vyavhara Mayukha, Viramitrodaya, Nirnaya Sindhu, and Vivada Tandava are the main authorities of The Bombay School of Mitakshara School of Hindu Law.

Madras School
The Mitakshara School of Hindu Law's Madras School is also known as the Dravida School. Smriti Chandrika, Parasara Madhaviya, Saraswati Vilasa, and Vauayanti are the main authorities of The Madras School under the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law.

Punjab School
The eastern parts of Punjab are dominated by the Punjab School, which is part of the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law. Customs is in charge of its primary governance.

Conclusion
Following an examination of the Mitakshara school, it can be concluded that it is orthodox on several grounds. Hindu law was developed with the intent of achieving salvation rather than preventing crime. The basic sources of Hindu law are the schools, which widened the scope, resulting in the growth and development of Hindu law.

This was a big help in the Hindu law codification process because all of the sources were written in Sanskrit, making it difficult to interpret in many places, and the presence of Schools that interpreted the same made the task easier. Currently, all types of activities in India are governed by codified law, but because the codified law recognises the importance of good customs, it allows certain rules to be relaxed when good custom prevails in that area.

End-Notes:
  1. The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (Act 39 of 2005), s. 3.
  2. The Hindu Succession Act, 1955 (Act 30 of 1956), s. 3(1)(a).
  3. supra note 2 at s. 3(1)(c).

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