Joint family system is a peculiarity of Hindu Law codes. It consists of
persons descended from a common ancestor, related to each other through the male line.
This system has no prototype in any other system of law. The basic principle is that a
joint family is united not only in estate but also in food and worship.
The earliest Shastras do not envisage a joint family. Gautama advocates
the division of the property after the father's death.19 Apastamba ordains partition of
property even in the father's life-time. Joint family system as described in Dayabhaga
combines the benefits of union with the advantages of self-determination. Here the father
has absolute powers, unhampered by sons, and the coparceners are unhampered among
Here each member is at liberty to alienate his share by sale, mortgage
or gift. Women are as much coparceners as men are. They are not dependent when
their husbands die. They are still coparceners in their own rights and can claim actual
partition from their husband's brothers.
The concept of joint family under Dayabhaga is far superior to that of
Mitakshara. n the range of adoption, Hindu Law does not leave out a daughter. A daughter
can be adopted. Nanda pandita, though conservative in other respects, has pleaded in his
commentary for permitting the adoption of a daughter and his views have the weighty
support of sacred texts.