Explain the various Schools of Hindu Law and examine how did they arise. .
Ans. Two principal Schools—Mitakshara and Dayabhaga: The two main schools of Hindu Law are the”Mitakshara” and the `Dayabhaga’. These two schools of Hindu Law are marked by a vital difference of opinion and interpretations of the Smritis. The Mitakshara written by Vijnaneshwara is a running commentary on the Smriti of Yajnavalkya and ‘the Dayabhaga’ written by Jimulavahana is not a commentary on any particular Code, but professes to be a digest of all the Codes. The Mitakshara School prevails throughout India except Bengal where the Dayabhaga School prevails.
Mitakshara School of Hindu Law can “again be divided into five sub-schools:
(1) Banaras School of Hindu Law.
(2) Mithila School of Hindu Law.
(3) Maharashtra or Bombay School of Hindu Law.
(4) Dravida or Madras School of Hindu Law.
(5) Punjab School of Hindu Law.
All these schools acknowledge the supreme authority of Milakshara, but give preference to certain treaties and commentaries which control the certain passage of the Mitakshara.
How these schools arose?—As to the causes which have given rise to these different schools, it should be noted that originally there were no schools of Hindu Jurisprudence. Schools of Hindu Law came into being when different commentaries appeared to interpret the Smritis’ with reference to different local customs that were in vogue in different parts of India. In Rutcheputty v. Rajendra, it has been observed by the Privy Council that the different schools of Hindu Law have originated due to different local customs prevailing in different provinces of India. The commentators on the Smritis could not ignore the local customs and usages and while interpreting the texts, they eventually incorporated different local customs. The local conditions and customs of the different provinces have, therefore, gone to mould the principles of law prevailing in each province. Process of development.—ln the case of Collector of Madras v. Moottoo Rantalinga, 1(1968) 12 MIA 397/, the Privy Council has held, “The remoter sources of the Hindu Law (that is Smritis) are common to all the different schools. The process by which those schools have been developed seems to have been of this kind. Works universally or very generally received became the subjects of subsequent commentaries. The commentator put his own gloss on the ancient text; and his authority having been received in one and rejected in another part of Indian schools with conflicting doctrines arose”. The variances between the sub-divisions of the Mitakshara school are comparatively few and slight.
Following are the reasons for these differences :—
(1) One reason which used to be given for this division is that “the glosses and commentaries upon the Mitakshara are received by some of the schools but are not received by all”.
(2) Another reason given for this division into schools is that the commentaries in a particular province which follow the Mitakashara put a particular gloss on it and are agreed upon it among themselves.
Dayabhaga.—This school prevails in West Bengal as well as in Assam, except in one point in which the written law is at variance with the customs of the locality.
The following authorities are the chief exponents of this school :—
(iv) Viramitrodaya and
As a result of the above process two principal schools of Hindu Law sprang up, i.e., (i) Mitakshara and (ii) the Dayabhaga.