Role Of Karta In Hindu Undivided Family

Role Of Karta In Hindu Undivided Family 1


To understand the meaning of Karta, we should have basic knowledge about coparcener. Coparcener is the narrower body of Joint Hindu Property which consists of male members up to four degrees (now after the 2005 amendment daughters are also included as coparceners). Example:

A-B-C-D-E-F (legal descents). Here, coparcenery will exist till D. As soon as A dies E will also become coparcener of JHF.

What is the meaning of Karta and who can be Karta?

Karta is generally the senior-most coparcener, who can take all decisions on the behalf of Joint Hindu Family(JHF). He manages all the affairs of the family. His position is sui-generis (i.e., of its own kind).

He holds his position by virtue of being the senior-most coparcener and in that sense he is neither the partner nor a principal nor an agent but he is more like a trustee (which means a person who takes care of the property of trust).

He is like a representative owner. Where his independent rights are limited from all sides by correlative rights of other. Also, he is burdened with liability co-extensive with ownership.

Can there be two Kartas?

As Karta is head of a family generally it has to be one Karta but there can be situations where there can be two managing members of the family.

Can Minor be Karta?

As long as the senior-most member is present, the junior cannot be a Karta unless and until all coparceners agree to the junior member occupying the managerial position. After the 2005 amendment, even a female can be Karta because the daughter holds the same position as the son. But it is to be kept in mind that mother and daughter-in-law can never be karta.

Can Karta alienate the property?

1. He has the same power as a coparcener. In other words, he can alienate property for certain purposes. In this regard, he can alienate property for the purpose of legal necessity (apatkale), an act of indispensable duty (dharma the), and for the benefit of the estate (katumbarthe). In all these cases coparcener’s consent is implied. So, there is no question of challenge. If alienation does not fall under the three points then it can be challenged.

i) Legal necessity (apatkale): Legal necessity includes difficult times like distress, famine, epidemic, earthquake, floods, i.e., what is indispensable. Further, these necessities should be proper and reasonable. Duties like socio-religious like shraddh, upnayan-sanskar, marriage, etc. Further, it may include legal proceedings or maintenance or marriage expenses, or paying of government debt and revenue.
ii) Benefit of estate (katumbarthe): It means some property improvement. It may include preservation and protection or may even further include exchange of property for benefit. The only limitation is Karta must act with prudence. Example: Karta may sell the unyielding property to buy a more fertile property.

iii) Indispensable duty (dharamathe): It means the performance of necessary ‘sanskars’. Karta can alienate the complete property in the discharge of indispensable duty. But if he gifts the property is for pious and charitable purposes then his right is limited.

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