SCHOOLS OF HINDU LAW (Part 1)

´The Codified Hindu Law lays down Uniform Law for all Hindus.

´In the codified areas of Hindu Law, there is no scope for the existence of schools.

´Schools of Hindu Law emerged with the emergence of the era of commentaries and digest.

´Schools of Hindu law being formed when different communities appeared to interpret “ Smritis” with reference to different local customs prevailing in different parts of India.

´There was no consensus among the interpreters, commentators so it leads to differences in opinions when they interpret Shruti and Smritis. When the authority of commentators was accepted in one part of India, it was rejected in another part of India. This gives rise to different schools of Hindu Law.

´In Rutchepatty v/s. Rajendra(1839), it has been observed by the Privy Council that the different local customs prevailed in different provinces of India. … The local conditions and customs of the different provinces have, therefore, molded the principles of law prevailing in each province.

´The commentaries on the Smritis could not ignore the local customs and usages while interpreting the texts, they incorporated different local customs.

Collector of Madura vs. Moottoo Ramalinga Sethupathy (Ramnad case)
(1868)

´Fact:

´When the Zamindar of Ramnad (a town in Tamil Nadu)died, he left without any son. So, after his death, his estate vested on her wife Rani Parvathavardhinini. After the death of her husband, Rani Parvathavardhinini adopted a son. In doing so she took the consent of her husband’s sandals ( having common ancestor ) but there was no authorization of adoption from her husband.

´When the Collector of Madura came to know about the death of Ramand, he notified the Government about the death of the sonless Zamindar. Under British law, if any Zamindar died without heirs, after the death of his wife the Zamindari would be seized by the Government. So, on the death of Rani Parvathavardhini, the estate of Ramnad would have been seized by the Government. But after the death of Rani Parvathavardhini, her adopted son was claimed as an adopted son and brought a suit for declaration of the validity of the adoption.

´Issue:

´Whether an adoption made by the widow was valid with the consent of the Sapindus without the husband’s authority?

´Judgement:

´The Privy Council evaluated different Schools and sources of Hindu law while delivering its judgment in this case. After tracing the historical development of Hindu law, the Court held that clear proof of usage will outweigh the written text of the Hindu law. Hindu law should be administered from the viewpoint of usage of the written texts of law.

´Custom is one of the most important sources of Hindu Law. It is important to the point that, if any conflict arises between a custom and the text of the Smritis, which is a written source, such custom will override the text.

´The Privy Council based their decision on the Smriti Chandrika and Prasara Madhviya, which are the most authoritative source in Hindu law regarding adoption, and concluded that in the Dravida School, even in the absence of authority from husband, a widow is entitled to adopt a son with the assent of his sapindas or kindred. The Privy Council observed: “For under the Hindu system of Law, the clear proof of usage will outweigh the written text of the law.”

´Because of these differences, two main schools emerged.

 

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