Schools of Hindu law

Schools of Hindu law are considered to are the commentaries and the digestives of the smritis. These schools have widened the scope of Hindu law and explicitly contributed to its development.

The two major schools of Hindu law are as follows-

  • Mitakshara 
  • Daya Bhaga


Mitakshara School: Mitakshara is one of the most important schools of Hindu law. It is a running commentary of the Smriti written by Yajnvalkya. This school is applicable in the whole part of India except in West Bengal and Assam. The Mitakshara has a very wide jurisdiction. However different parts of the country practice law differently because of the different customary rules followed by them.

Mitakshara is further divided  into five sub-schools namely

  • Benaras Hindu law school
  • Mithila law school
  • Maharashtra law school
  • Punjab law school
  • Dravida or madras law school

These law schools come under the ambit of Mitakshara law school. They enjoy the same fundamental principle but differ in certain circumstances.

Benaras law school

This law school comes under the authority of the Mitakshara law school and covers  Northern India including Orissa. Viramitrodaya Nirnyasindhu vivada are some of its major commentaries.

Mithila law school

This law school exercises its authority in the territorial parts of tirhoot and north Bihar. The principles of the law school prevail in the north. The major commentaries of this school are Vivadaratnakar, Vivadachintamani, smritsara.

Maharashtra or Bombay law school

The Maharashtra law school has the authority to exercise its jurisdiction over the territorial parts including Gujarat Karana and the parts where there is the Marathi language is proficiently spoken. The main authorities of these schools are Vyavhara Mayukha, Virmitrodaya, etc.

Madras law school

This law school tends to cover the whole southern part of India. It also exercises its authorities under Mitakshara law school. The main authorities of this school are Smriti Chandrika, Vaijayanti, etc.

Punjab law school

This law school was predominantly established in east Punjab. It had established its own customs and traditions. The main commentaries of this school are viramitrodaya and it established customs.

Dayabhaga school

Dayabhaga school predominantly prevailed in Assam and West Bengal. This is also one of the most important schools of hindu laws. It is considered to be a digest for the leading smritis. Its primary focus was to deal with partition, inheritance and joint family. According to Kane, it was incorporated in between 1090-1130 A.D.

Dayabhaga school was formulated with a view to eradicating all the other absurd and artificial principles of inheritance. The immediate benefit of this new digest is that it tends to remove all the shortcomings and limitations of the previously established principles and inclusion of many cognates in the list of heirs,  which was restricted by the Mitakshara school.

In Dayabhaga school various other commentaries were followed such as:

  • Dayatatya 
  • Dayakram-sangrah 
  • Virmitrodaya
  • Dattaka Chandrika

What is the difference between Mitakshara and Dayabhaga school?

The difference in relation to the joint property

  1. Under Mitakshara school right to ancestral property arises by birth. Hence the son becomes the co-owner of the property sharing similar rights as of fathers. While in Dayabhaga school the right to ancestral property is only given after the death of the last owner. It does not recognise the birth right of any individual over an ancestral property.
  2. Under the Mitakshara school the father does not possess the absolute right to alienate the property but in daya bhaga the father has absolute right of alienation of the ancestral property as he is the sole owner of that property during his lifetime.
  3. Under Mitakshara school the son attains the right to become the co-owner of the property he can ask for the partition of the ancestral property even against the father and can demand for his share but in case of Dayabhaga school son has no right to ask for the partition of ancestral property against his father.
  4. Under Mitakshara school the survivorship rule is prevalent. In case of the death of any member in the joint family, his interest shall pass to other members of the family. While in case of Dayabhaga school the interest of the member on their death shall pass on to their heirs like widow, son, daughters.
  5. Under the Mitakshara school the members can’t dispose of their share of property while undivided while in daya bhaga the members of the family enjoys absolute right dispose off their property.

The difference as regards to inheritance

  • Under Mitakshara the rule of blood relationship or consanguinity is followed in case of inheritance whereas in case of Dayabhaga school the inheritance is governed by the rule of the offering of pinda.
  • Under Mitakshara school the cognates are postponed to agnates or not preferred upon agnates while in case of Dayabhaga cognates are preferred upon the agnates.
  • Mitakshara school expanded its recognition to a very limited extent in regards to the recognition of the doctrine of factum valet but Dayabhaga, on the other hand, has expanded it recognition to the full extent.
  • Under the Hindu law the difference between the Mitakshara school and the Dayabhaga school is not recognised as in the present scenario there exists one uniform law of succession for all the Hindus.


It can be concluded that Hindu law is considered to be the most ancient and prolific laws in the world. It has been around every phase. It is about 6000 years old. Hindu law has been established by the people, not for the purpose of removing any crime or transgression from society but it was established so that the people will follow it in order to attain salvation. Originally Hindu law was established so that the need of the people gets fulfilled. The concept was initiated in for the welfare of the people. There is the two-fold classification of the sources of the Hindu law

Ancient sources

Modern sources

Schools of Hindu law are considered to be the basic source of Hindu law which constituted in the development of the Hindu law from its roots. It is also known as the commentaries and the digestives of the smritis. These schools have widened the scope of Hindu law and explicitly contributed in its development.

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