‘But,’ questions Kautilya, ‘how is it possible for good
women to know, at least, this fact, that the family of her own kinsmen,
consisting of a
number of males, is good? It is no offence for women to go to the houses of kinsmen in the
circumstances of death, disease, calamities and confinement of women.’
A fine has, however, to be paid by anyone who prevents women from going
out in the circumstances mentioned above; for a woman is required to be benignant and
helpful. But, if a woman fails in her duty by concealing herself, when her help is
demanded elsewhere, she shall forfeit her endowment.8
In inheritance, sons, daughters and sons of inter-caste marriages are
accorded a place in the laws of Kautilya. In the absence of a son, the brothers or
persons living with the deceased shall take possession of his property. In their absence
his daughters born of marriages other than the first four, shall have his property.
If a man has only daughters, and if his marriage has been per formed
according to the first four kinds of marriages, the daughters can inherit the property.
Adequate dowry has, however, to be given to, daughters at the time of their
‘Daughters, too, unmarried, shall be paid adequate dowry, payable
to them on the occasion of their marriage’. 9
If there is no heir, the state shall
claim the property. The only kind of property, which a king cannot claim, is the
Stridhanam, which is given a unique status in Kautilya’s code of law.
‘Property for which no claim ant is found shall go to the king,
except the property of a woman.’ (III. V. 161.)