Ancient Sources Hindu Law, also known as Hindu personal law, is a complex system of laws that govern the personal and family matters of Hindus in India. It consists of various sources, including Shrutis (Vedas), Smritis (Dharma Shastras), commentaries, digests, and customs. These sources provide the foundation for understanding and interpreting Hindu personal law.
The primary texts of Ancient Sources Hindu Law are the Shrutis (Vedas) and Smritis (Dharma Shastras). The Vedas are considered to be the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism and contain hymns, rituals, and philosophical teachings. The Dharma Shastras are ancient legal texts that provide guidelines for moral and ethical conduct, as well as rules for personal and family matters.
Commentaries and Digests play a crucial role in interpreting the primary texts of Ancient Sources Hindu Law. They provide explanations, analysis, and interpretations of the laws mentioned in the Vedas and Dharma Shastras. These commentaries and digests help in understanding the context and application of the ancient laws in modern times.
Customs in India refer to the practices and traditions followed by Hindus in relation to their personal laws. Customary practices have been an integral part of Hindu society for centuries and have influenced the development of Hindu personal law. These customs are often considered as secondary sources of law and are taken into account while deciding legal disputes.
To understand the relevance of Ancient Sources Hindu Law to Non Resident Indians (NRI), it is important to consider their connection to their Indian heritage and the impact it has on their personal lives. NRIs often face unique challenges when it comes to matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and property rights. The principles and provisions of Ancient Sources Hindu Law can help NRIs navigate these legal complexities.
One important provision of Ancient Sources Hindu Law is the concept of “sapinda” relationship. According to this provision, marriage between two individuals who are within the prohibited degrees of relationship is considered void. In the case of Smt. Sarla Mudgal, President, Kalyani and Others v. Union of India and Others, the Supreme Court of India held that a Hindu marriage performed outside India, even if it is legal under the laws of that country, would be considered void if it violates the sapinda relationship.
Another relevant provision is the concept of “stridhan,” which refers to the property owned by a Hindu woman. In the case of Smt. Rani Narasimha Sastry v. Smt. Rani Suneela Rani, the Supreme Court of India held that a Hindu woman has absolute ownership over her stridhan property and has the right to dispose of it as she wishes.
In matters of divorce, Ancient Sources Hindu Law recognizes various grounds for dissolution of marriage, including cruelty, adultery, desertion, and conversion to another religion. In the case of Smt. Leela Bai v. Shankar Lal, the Rajasthan High Court held that conversion to another religion by one spouse without the consent of the other spouse can be a ground for divorce under Hindu personal law.
Inheritance rights are also an important aspect of Ancient Sources Hindu Law. The law recognizes different modes of inheritance, such as succession by birthright, testamentary succession, and survivorship. In the case of Danamma @ Suman Surpur v. Amar, the Supreme Court of India held that a daughter has equal rights as a son in ancestral property even if she was born before the enactment of the Hindu Succession Act.
In conclusion, Ancient Sources Hindu Law consists of Shrutis (Vedas) and Smritis (Dharma Shastras) as primary texts, with commentaries, digests, and customs providing interpretations and practices. NRIs can benefit from understanding these laws as they navigate personal and family matters in relation to their Indian heritage. The provisions of Ancient Sources Hindu Law, such as sapinda relationship, stridhan property, divorce grounds, and inheritance rights, are relevant to NRIs and can guide them in legal matters.