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Schools of Hindu Law

Schools of Hindu Law


Shivalika Verma
College: BVDU, New Law College, Pune


Hindu Law is codified as well as uncodified. The codified law provides for various laws which have uniform application for all Hindus.

For example, The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Hindu Succession Act, 2005. The schools of Hindu law have relevance with respect to the uncodified areas of Hindu law. The uncodified Hindu law are those personal Hindu laws which are implemented in the personal matters of Hindu. For example: Adoption.

Meaning and concept of schools of Hindu law:

The Hindu laws have emerged from the different digests and commentaries in various parts of India. The schools of Hindu law are organized system of thoughts. These are principles, policies, guidelines and methods for handling various matters of personal Hindu law.

Schools of Hindu law:

Mitakshara School:

This applies to whole of India except the states of Assam and West Bengal. It can be defined as a running commentary on the code of Yajnavalkya. Majority of Hindus followed this school. The nature of this school is orthodox and conservative. It suggests that:

· The Right to property arises by birth.

· The son can ask for partition in a joint family property.

Dayabhaga School

This school is confined to the state of West Bengal and some parts of Assam. It is not a commentary on any code but considered as digest of all codes. It has small portion of followers. It suggests that:

· Right to property arises after the death of the owner.

· Son cannot ask for partition in the joint family system.

Mitakshara School and it sub-divisions:

Banaras School:

· Prevails in: North India

· Important Authorities of the school:

(a) Viramitrodaya

Case: Vedachela Mudaliar v. Subramania Mudaliar

In this case, it was held that Viramitrodaya is an important authority of Banaras School.

(b) Nirnaya Sindhu

Mithila School:

· Prevails in: Bihar and Tirhut areas

· Important Authorities of the school:

(a) Vivada Chintamani

(b) Vivada Ratnakar

Dravida/ Madras School:

· Prevails in: Southern India as well as whole of Madras

· Important Authorities of the school:

(a) Smriti Chandrika

(b) Parashra Smriti

(c) Vijayanti

Maharashtra/ Bombay School:

· Prevails in: Western parts of India

· Important Authorities of the school:

(a) Vyavahara Mayukha

(b) Nirnaya Sindhu

(c) Vivada Tandav

Punjab School:

· Prevails in: Parts of Punjab

· Important Authorities: Punjab Customs

Effect of migration of school:

Hindu law is governed by the law of place and not by the place of migration. It means that the original place of domicile governs the rule of migration. For example, a Hindu family whose original place of domicile was West Bengal (Dayabhaga School) migrates to Madras(Dravida School), then it is presumed that the Hindu family carries with it its law of place, place of domicile that is West Bengal and shall not be governed by the Madras school.

Case: Balwant Rao v. Baji Rao

The parties were originally from Pune, Maharashtra (Maharashtra School) who settled down in Madhya Pradesh (Banaras School). It was held that the parties will be governed by the Maharashtra school.

Case: Parbati Kumari Debi vs Jagadis Chunder Dhabal

In this case the family migrated from Madras to West Bengal. It was held that the family will be governed by DravidaSchool and not Dayabhaga School.

Disclaimer: Kindly note that the views and opinions expressed are of the author, and not Law Colloquy.