Woman has the same rights of inheritance as man. On marriage the couple
have a joint interest on their estate, each keeping his or her share separate. All
property acquired or inherited comes under joint property. Both husband and wife get equal
share of interest. But where property is the contribution of one party only, the
contributor gets two-thirds share and the other one third.
Divorce is permissible by mutual consent under Buddhist
Law. When one
party contracts some incurable disease, such as leprosy, divorce is immediately
granted. In these cases each is entitled to one half of the interest in property. If one
deserts the other, divorce is automatically and the deserting party forfeits all rights to
inherit property but is liable to pay off the joint debts if any.
If the husband becomes a priest against the wishes of his wife and
remains as such for seven days, the wife, inherits the entire property and has to pay off
also their joint debts. To sell or mortgage a joint property, the consent of the wife is
obligatory. Neither party can act independently. A woman has the right to adopt for
inheritance or out of pity; girls are not barred from adoption.
These laws still survive in Buddhist countries like Burma,
Indo-China, China, Japan and Ceylon. But it must be said that at one time when Buddhism
was a living religion in India, they influenced, not to a small extent, Hindu culture and
the legal literature. Kautilya admits divorce by mutual consent as did the Buddhists.