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Law and the Economy in Colonial India$
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Tirthankar Roy and Anand V. Swamy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226387642

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226387789.001.0001

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Succession of Property: Joint versus Individual Right

Succession of Property: Joint versus Individual Right

(p.80) Five Succession of Property: Joint versus Individual Right
Law and the Economy in Colonial India

Tirthankar Roy

Anand V. Swamy

University of Chicago Press

Whereas agricultural property invited specific legislation, the law of succession and inheritance outside agriculture initially upheld the rights of the joint family in such matters, as set out in classical texts on Hindu law. In a commercializing environment, the decision to empower a collective body gave rise to disputes. For example, disputes occurred over the question, in a family firm of merchants, who had a stronger claim to inherit property, the partner or the son? When religious law privileged the claim of an heir on spiritual grounds whereas others’ claims could be justified on grounds of equity or efficiency, what should the judges do? By what law would testaments be prepared and accepted in the courts? The history of legislation in property rights (excluding agricultural land) is a history of a gradual strengthening of testamentary powers of individuals overriding the right of the collective.

Keywords:   testamentary, inheritance, joint family, Hindu law, law of succession

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