Prelims 2021

Q. With reference to the history of ancient India, which of the following statements is/are correct?

1.Mitakshara was the civil law for upper castes and Dayabhaga was the civil law for lower castes.
2.In the Mitakshara system, the sons can claim right to the property during the lifetime of the father, whereas in the Dayabhaga system, it is only after the death of the father that the sons can claim right to the property.
3.The Mitakshara system deals with the matters related to the property held by male members only of a family, whereas the Dayabhaga system deals with the matters related to the property held by both male and female members of a family.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 2 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) 3 only
Correct Answer: b) 2 only

Question from UPSC Prelims 2021 GS Paper

Explanation : 

Mitakshara and Dayabhaga Legal Systems

The correct answer to the question is indeed “2 only“. Let’s analyze each statement:

Statement 1: Caste-Based Distinction of Civil Laws

This statement is incorrect. The distinction between Mitakshara and Dayabhaga schools of Hindu law was not based on caste lines. Both were commentaries on the ancient Hindu law texts and were followed in different geographical regions of India, irrespective of caste. Mitakshara was followed throughout most of India, while Dayabhaga was prevalent in Bengal and Assam.

Statement 2: Rights to Property in Mitakshara and Dayabhaga Systems

This statement is correct. The Mitakshara school advocates for the concept of joint family and coparcenary property, where the male members acquire an interest in the property by birth. In contrast, under the Dayabhaga school, the right to property is not acquired by birth but only upon the death of the owner.

Statement 3: Gender and Property Rights in Mitakshara and Dayabhaga Systems

This statement is incorrect. While it is true that the Mitakshara system was more patriarchal and provided limited rights to women, it is not accurate to say that it dealt exclusively with property held by male members. Women did have certain rights, albeit limited. The Dayabhaga system did provide somewhat better rights for women, but it did not specifically deal with property held by both male and female members; rather, it was more liberal in allowing women to inherit property.

Therefore, the only correct statement is the second one, making the answer “2 only“. The Mitakshara and Dayabhaga schools are distinguished by their rules concerning the timing of when sons can claim rights to the property and not by caste or the gender of property holders.

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