Some of the works based on the Mitakshara give a place to a stepmother
in the claim to a share of the property placing her on a par with the mother. But some
others make a further distinction between step- mothers, i.e., and the stepmothers that
have sons and, those that have none. The former can claim a son's share, but the latter
can have a maintenance only.16 The Viramitrodaya,17 Vivadatandava, and Vaijayanti!
Are adherents of the above rule, whereas Balambhatta and Mitra-Misra
argue on the strength of the occurrence of the word Mata in the text of the Mitakshara
that the stepmothers are included among 'Mothers.' There is difference of opinion in deter-
mining the fourth share of the property ordained for a daughter. The fourth share has been
defined as a part of the property sufficient to meet the expenses of the marriage of the
daughter. This view of the term does not meet with the approval of the Mitakshara and
The other commentaries on Manu, the Mayukha,18 Viramitrodaya,
Vivadatandava, Madanaparijata and Vaijayanti 20 have opposed and combated this view. The
Smriti Chandrika, probably in accord with Medhatithi, declares that the fourth share can
be taken by the daughter for the purpose of her wedding and for nothing else. She cannot
claim it as inheritance. Hence it seems to be a compromise reached by the author between
these two extreme views.
There is again a further discussion as to the meaning and scope of this
'fourth share'. The term is ambiguous, and several explanations have been given; it may
mean ' a part of the whole, a part of a son's share, or apart of what a daughter would
have taken, had she been a son.' The commentators do not come to any definite conclusion
on this point, and leave it nebulous.
The Bengal school, however, is more favorable to women and declares
that they can claim a share in the property in certain cases.21
The extreme importance
attached to a son, based on the eschatological idea of procuring the welfare of the
departed in the next world, has made the earlier lawgivers accept as a member of society
and family any kind of son, legitimate or illegitimate.