“He who is the nearest from a Sapinda shall take property of the latter, next, to him the Sakulya, then the spiritual preceptor, and then the spiritual disciple.
It is the word ‘Sapinda’ occurring in the First time of the text that gave rise to the two systems. Mitakshara interprets the words ‘pinda’ in the sense of body or particle of the body. The Dayabhaga, on the other hand, explains it as a funeral cake offered by a Hindu to a deceased ancestor.
According to the Mitakshara law ‘Sapinda’ means a person connected through the same body or partition of body, i.e., blood relation. According to Dayabhaga ‘Sapinda’ means a person connected through offering of funeral cakes.
The Mitakshara system is thus based on consanguinity of proximity of blood relationship while the Dayabhaga system is founded upon the doctrine of religious efficacy or spiritual benefit. According to Mitakshara the nearest Sapinda is one who is nearest in blood relationship.
According to Dayabhaga a nearest-Sapinda is one who can confer the grates spiritual benefit by making of offerings of pinda, etc. It is to be noted, however, that even in the Mitakshara system the doctrine of spiritual benefit is not wholly absent. In the Dayabhaga system also the principle of propinquity is applied in cases not covered by the Dayabhaga. The Mitakshara system is prevalent in all the States in India except that of Bengal and the Dayabhaga system is prevalent in Bengal only. The main differences between the two systems are:
(1) The governing principle of the Dayabhaga system of inheritance is the religious efficacy, but according to the mitakshara system, sometimes the governing principle is consanguinity, i.e., the nearness of blood and sometimes religious efficacy.
(2) The modes of devolution of property are recognised under Mitakshara system, namely, survivorship and succession. Joint family property devolves by survivorship and the property held in absolute severalty by the last owner is governed by the rule of succession.
Under the Dayabhaga system succession is the only mode of devolution of property whether it is joint, separate or self acquired.
A and B are two brothers governed by the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law. They are members of a joint undivided family. A dies leaving the brother B and a daughter D. A’s share in the joint family property D. But if A and B were separate, A’s property would, on his death, pass to his daughter D, as his heir.
But according to the Dayabhaga system the daughter D will in all cases be heir of A. She will inherit the property as an heir to A, joint as well as separate property.