This view of the Mitakshara has been contested on the, ground that it
recognizes the binding force of the texts that disqualify women to inherit, and this
general rule is evaded by the force of special rules; for the Mitakshara, though it does
not quote the actual texts, recognizes the authority of the Veda and of Baudhayana.
Neither does the Mayukha quote the text, and Apararka, though
acquainted with it, takes it only as an explanatory statement and not as a rule. In spite
of their great reverence for Sruti and Smrti, it is to be found that the commentators
explained away the old laws that were incompatible with their system. Vijnanesvara,
however, recognizes the general capacity of women to inherit.
The texts 38 quoted in support of exclusion from inheritance are
applicable to women as well as to men. Next to inheritance, the question that engaged the
closest scrutiny of the commentators of this period is the exact meaning and scope of
or property of women. The word can be traced, as far back as Gautama, where it meant
simply any property belonging to a woman. It is used in a general sense, and not to denote
any species of property belonging to women. Later, in
Kautilya's time, we have seen that it came to designate a special kind
of property. Then its scope did not extend beyond Sulka, or the fee given to the bride at
the time of marriage. It was really a ' bride- price', over, which she bad absolute
authority. It probably came into vogue at a time when the purchase of brides at a price
was quite usual, though later it fell into desuetude. In Kautilya's work the Sulka was
identical with Stridhana, though in the later law codes it is separated.
Among the later lawgivers Vyasa and Katyayana mention a bridegroom who
went abroad after having given Sulka and Stridhana to his future wife. Among the
commentators Jagannatha 39 describes Stridhana thus: -- 'The trifle which is
received by a woman as the price or reward of household labour, of using household
utensils, of keeping beasts of burden, of watching milch cattle, of preserving ornaments
of dress, or of superintending servants, is called her "perquisite".'