At the beginning of British rule in India, it was seen that most of the
ancient laws were forgotten and custom prevailed, and so reform laws were passed from time
to time to suit the conditions.
In 1850 an Act was passed known as the Caste Disabilities
Removal Act XXI of 1850. This removed the difficulties arising out of caste. Six years
later in 1856 the Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act XV of 1856 was passed which enabled widows
to marry again. This gave a severe shock to the then conservative Hindu society. In
1872, the Special Marriage Act III of 1872 was passed which enabled one to marry out of
her own caste and also without any reference to the gotra relation.
In 1937, the Hindu
Women's Rights to Property Act was passed. This affected the views of Mitakshara relating
to woman's right of inheritance.
Thereafter a committee was appointed by the Government of India on
January 25, 1941, to examine the said Act and to amend the Act so as to (1) resolve the
doubts felt as to the construction of the Act and (2) also to Clarify the nature of the
right conferred upon the widow; and (3) to remove any injustice that may have been done by
the Act to the daughter.
They were also asked to examine and advise on the Hindu Law of
Inheritance (Amendment) Bill as well as the Hindu Women's Rights to separate Residence and
Maintenance and Bill. +