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Dr. Pravesh Dalei




Sumit Swarnakar

Roll no. , B.A-LL.B 2nd- SEM


I Sumit Swarnakar, Roll No. 47 of B.A-LL.B 2nd SEM, of Guru Ghasidas

Vishwavidyalaya, do hereby declare that this project is my original piece of work
and I have not copied this project from any source without due acknowledgment. I
am highly indebted from the author of the books that I have referred in my project
as well as all the writers of the articles and the owners of the information taken from
the website for it. It is only because of their contribution and proper guidance of my
faculty Dr. Pravesh Dalei, Professor that I was able to gather light on the subject.

Sumit Swarnakar

Roll no. 47

B.A-LL.B, 2nd SEM

I am glad here to submit this project on KARTA as a part of my academic
assignment. The project is based on Research Methodology. It further studies
meaning, sources and methods of Research Methodology and further discusses the
Interview Method. I hope this would be significant for academic purposes as well as
prove informative to all readers.

Here though I declare that this paper is an original piece of research and all are
borrowed text and ideas have been duly acknowledged.

Sumit Swarnakar

Roll no-47 Faculty Sign

B.A- LL.B, 2nd SEM

I am using this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to all those who
provided me the possibility to complete this project work.

I pay my special gratitude and warm thanks to my subject teacher Prof. DR.
PRAVESH DALEI for his aspiring guidance, invaluably constructive criticism and
friendly advice during the project work.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to my respective seniors and dear friends
for sharing their truthful and illuminating views on a number of issues and topics
related to this project.

Least but not the last I would also like to thank my parents who supported me
economically a lot in finalizing within the limited time frame. So I could present it
so well.

Sumit Swarnakar

Roll no-47

B.A-LL.B, 2nd SEM














In the entire Hindu joint family, the Karta or manager, (the English word manager
is wholly inadequate in understanding of the unique position of the Karta, thus in
this work, the word Karta has been used throughout) occupies a very important
position. He possesses a pivotal position. So unique is his position that there is no
office or institution in any other system of the world which can be compared with it.
His position is sui generis. He is a person with limited powers, but within the ambit
of his share, he possesses such vast powers as are possessed by none else.

The head of the Hindu joint family also called the Karta or manager of the joint
family occupies a unique position unlike any other member of the family. The senior
most male member of the Hindu joint family is usually the Karta or head of the
family. Often Karta is called manager of the Joint family, this is when there is exists
a family business or if it is a trading family, there has to be a manager to take care
of the proper functioning and supervision of the business. The Karta has innumerable
right and powers. He can exercise these right in any manner he think fit as long as
it’s for the greater good of the family. Along with such great power he has a number
of liabilities such as maintenance of family members and keeping proper accounts.
Capacity to be a Karta
According to the law, only a coparcener can become the Karta of the family. And
by the Hindu texts, only the senior most male member is designated by virtue of
his seniority to be the Karta of the family. But there are certain exceptions, where
other members can be made the Karta.

 Senior most male member- it is a presumption of the Hindu law that

ordinarily the senior most male member is Karta of the joint family. The
senior most male member is the Karta by virtue of the fact that he is the senior
most male member. He does not owes his position to agreement or consent of
other coparceners. He is entitle to be the Karta because he is the senior most.
So long as he is alive, may be aged, infirm, or ailing, he will continue to be
the Karta. Even a leper may continue to be the Karta. Whether insanity or
any other disqualifications will defeat his rights is not clear, but it seems that
in such a case the next senior male member will take over the Kartaship.
Once this is done, the former cease to be a Karta.
So long as the father is alive, he is the Karta. After his death it passes to the
senior most male member, who may be the uncle, if coparcenary consist of
uncles and nephews, or who may be the eldest brother, if coparcenary consists
of brothers.
 Junior male member-in the presence of a senior male member, a junior male
member cannot be the Karta. But if all the coparceners agree, a junior male
member can be a Karta. The junior member owes his appointment to the
agreement or consent of the coparceners. Coparcener may withdraw their
consent at any time.
A junior member of Hindu undivided family (HUF) was realizing rent, he
filed suit for eviction, the tenant cannot, question his locus standi or capacity
to file suit.
 Female member- a female, not being a coparcener, cannot be the Karta,
generally. But under certain circumstances, she can be allotted the powers of
Position of the Karta
The position of Karta is sui generis. The relationship between him and others
member is not that of principle or agent or partners. He not like a manager of a
commercial firms. Needless to say, he is the head of the family, and acts on behalf
of other members, but he is not like a partners as his power are almost unlimited.
Undoubtedly, he is the master of the grand show of the joint family and manages all
its affairs and its business. His powers of management are so wide and almost
sovereign that any manager of business firm palace into insignificance. In a sense,
he stands in fiduciary relationship with other members, but he is not a trustee.
Ordinarily, he is accountable to none. Unless charges of misappropriation, fraud or
conversion are leveled against him, he is the master and no one can question him, as
to what he received and what he spend. So long as he manages the affairs of the
family, he is not bound to save, economies or invest. In short, he is not liable for
positive failures, such as failure to invest, to prepare accounts, or to save money. He
is not bound to pay the income of the joint family in any fixed proportion to other
members. Even if he enters into such arrangement, he can repudiate it with impunity.
He is not bound to treat all members impartially, he may discriminate.

However large or despotic his power may be, despot he cannot be he has blood ties
with other members. After all he is a person of limited powers. He has liability
towards members. Any coparcener can, at any time ask for partition. He obtain no
reward for his services and he discharges many onerous responsibilities towards the
family and its members. His true legal position can be understood only when we
know the ambit of his powers and liabilities.
Karta’s liabilities
Karta’s liabilities are numerous and multifarious. The Karta of the joint family is
responsible to maintain all members of the family, coparceners and others. If he
improperly excludes any member from maintenance or does not properly maintain
them, he can be sued for maintenance as well as for arrears of maintenance. He is
also responsible for marriage of all unmarried members. This responsibility has been
has been particularly emphasized in respect of daughter. If a partition suit is filed,
he has to prepare accounts, though this has different meaning under the Dayabhaga
and the Mitakshara School. The Karta represent the family. He is its sole
representative vis-a-vis the government and all outsiders and in that capacity he has
to discharge many responsibilities and liabilities on behalf of the family. He has to
pay taxes and other dues on behalf of the family and he can be sued for all his
dealings on behalf of the family with outsiders.
Powers of Karta
When we enumerates the powers of the Karta, the real importance of his legal
position comes into clear relief. His powers are vast and limitations are few. The
ambit of his powers may be considered under tow heads:

(a) Power of alienation of joint family property,

(b) Other powers, in the former case his powers are limited.

As a general rule, he has no power of alienation. He can alienate properties in

exceptional case only. In the latter case, his power are very large, almost absolute,
though in respect of incurring debts his power are again restricted.

Powers of management-as the head of the family, Karta’s power of management

are almost absolute. He may manage the family affairs and family property and
business the way he likes, he may mismanage, and no one can question his
management. The Karta has no obligation to save or economies, no obligation to
invest funds, or to invest properly. For instance, he may not lease out family property
or he may lease it out at a nominal rent. He may discriminate the between the
members of the family: to some he may give spend, to some less; some may be given
higher education, while other may be given only primary education. To some he allot
a bigger portion of the house to live in, to some he may allot smaller portions. But
he cannot deny maintenance or use and maintenance or use and occupation of
property to any coparcener. Then the ever- hanging sword of partition is a great
check, is the affection and the natural concern that he has for the members of the
family and the complete faith and confidence that members response him.

Right to income-it is the natural consequences of the joint family system that the
whole of the income of joint family property, whosever may collect them, a
coparcener, agent or a servant, must be handed to the Karta unless he has specially
allotted income of a particular property to a member. It is a rule of the Mitakshara
joint family that no member of the joint family is entitle to any definite share of the
income of the joint family property or business. It is for the Karta to allot funds to
the members and to look after their needs and requirements. So long as the family
remain joint, no member can ask for any specified share in the income.
Right to representation- The Karta of the joint family represents the family in all
matters, legal, social and religious. He acts on behalf of the family and his acts are
binding on the entire joint family. The joint family has no corporate existence; it acts
in all matters through its Karta. The Karta can enter into any transaction on behalf
of the family, and it will be ordinarily binding on the joint family. Merely because
one of the members of the family also joins him in the representation, does not alter
the position of the Karta or the binding character of the transaction so enter into by
the Karta. He also represents the family in suit and other legal proceedings. The
joint family will be bound to be a decree or order passed in legal proceedings. Even
when the Karta has lost a case on account of his gross negligence, it is not open to
other members to have the decree set side on that ground alone.

Power of compromise- Karta has power to compromise all disputes relating to

family property or their management. He can also compromise a suit pending in a
court and it will and it will be binding in on all the members, though a minor
coparcener may take advantage of O.32, Rule, C.P.C. which lays down that in case
one of the parties to the suit is a minor, the compromise must be approved by the
court. He can also compromise family debts and other transactions. However, if his
act of compromise is not bona fide, it can be challenge in a partition. The Karta has
no right to give up a substantial portion of a debt due to the family merely out of
charity, or sympathy with the debtors.

Power to refer a dispute arbitration- the Karta power to acknowledge on behalf

of the family debt due to the family. He has also the power to pay interest on a debt
or to make part payment of the principle so that a fresh period of limitation may start.
But the Karta has no power to acknowledge a time-board debt.

Karta’s power to contract debts- The Karta has an implied authority to contract
debts and pledge the credit of the family for ordinary purpose of family business.
Such debts, incurred in the ordinary course of business, are binding on the entire
family. The Karta of the non-business joint family also has the power to contract
debt for family purposes. Such debts are binding on the m member of the joint
family. When a creditor seeks to make the entire joint family liable for such debts,
it is necessary for him to prove that the loan was taken for the family purposes, or in
the ordinary course of business, or that he made proper and bona fide enquiries, as
to the existent of needs. The expression ‘family purpose’ has almost the same
meaning as legal necessity, benefit of state, or performance of indispensable and
pious duties. Just as an alienation is justified for legal necessity, etc., a debt is also
justified for the same purposes.

Loan on promissory note- When the Karta of a joint family takes a loan or execute
a promissory note for family purposes or for family business, the other member of
the family may be sued on the note itself even if they are note parties to the note;
their liabilities are limited to their share in the joint family property, though the
Karta is personally liable on the note. There is a difference of option among our
High Courts whether the coparceners are liable on the note itself or whether there
liability arises out of the debt. The Allahabad, Nagpur and Patna High Courts take
the former view while the Calcutta and Bombay High Courts take the later view.
This distinction between liability on the note and liability on the debt is very
material. If liability is on the note, the consideration, in certain circumstances, will
be presumed while if liability is on the debt, it would be necessary to prove that the
debt was taken for a purpose binding on the family. When a promissory note is in
favor of the Karta of the Karta and his sons, the Karta alone can sue on the note for
the recovery of the debt.

Power to enter into contract- the Karta has power to enter into contracts and such
contract are binding on the family. It is also now settled that a contract, otherwise
specially enforceable, is also specially enforceable against the family.

Power of the Karta of the trading joint family- The Karta of the trading has all
the powers of the Karta of an ordinary family. He has additional powers. For
instance, the Karta of the trading family can take debts in the course of business for
such debt except the Karta, no one else is personally liable: their liability extends
only to the extent of their interest in the joint family property. It has been held that
the joint family is also liable for the torts of the Karta committed in the course in the
course of business.

 Father’s power of alienation -At one time our Courts held conflicting views
as to the father’s power alienation over his separate immovable properties,
though they were unanimous that the father had full power of disposal of his
separate movable property. The reason for this conflict was a text in a
mitakshara, according to which the father “is subject to the control of his sons
and the rest, in regard to the immovable property”, whether self-acquired or
ancestral. In 1898, the Privy Council set at rest this controversy and held that
the father had full power of alienation over his separate property, both
immovable and movable property. It has been all along recognized that the
Dayabhaga father has full power of alienation over all properties, whether
self- acquired or ancestral.

Guramma v. Mallappa

A gift of immovable property to daughter made by the father after her marriage was
held valid. The Supreme Court justified such gift by saying that it was given in lieu
of daughter’s share in partition in which was recognized in ancient law. It is
submitted that, despite this particular reasoning, gift of love and affection of
immovable property cannot be made to sons or, for that matter to any member of the
joint family. The Supreme Court in a later decision has confide this rule to gifts of
daughter. Thus, gift of love and affection of immovable property cannot be given to
anyone else, not even to wife or daughter-in-law.
Can a woman be the ‘Karta?’
The Nagpur High Court held the view that mother, though not coparcener, can be in
the absence of adult male members, Karta of the joint family, and her acts will be
binding on the others as that of a Karta. The Supreme Court, in commissioner of
income-tax v. Seth Govind Ram, after reviewing the authorities, took the view that
the mother or any other female member could not be the Karta of the joint family
and therefore cannot alienate joint family property. This is in accordance with the
texts of Hindu law. According to Hindu sages, only a coparcener can be a Karta,
since female cannot be coparceners, they cannot be the Karta of the joint family.
Much could be said in favor of the Nagpur view in context in which mother was held
to be the Karta, but the Supreme Court could not legislate.

In Gangoli v. H.K. Channappa the Karnataka High Court expressed the view that
the mother has natural guardian of her minor sons can manage the joint family
property and appointment of a guardian by court will not be justified. This is
obviously the situation where the father is dead and there no adult male member

After coming into force of Amendment Act 2005, a woman since is now a
coparcener, the question of her becoming a Karta should also be no longer there.

But presently, there was breakthrough jurisdiction related to the capacity of female
to be the Karta. Delhi high court has ruled in a landmark verdict. A unique position
carved out by Hindu customs and ancient texts, "Karta" denotes managership of a
joint family and is traditionally inherited by men.
"If a male member of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), by virtue of his being the
first born eldest, can be a Karta, so can a female member. The court finds no
restriction in law preventing the eldest female co-parcenor of an HUF, from being
its Karta," Justice Najmi Waziri said in a judgment made public earlier this week.
The Karta occupies a position superior to that of other members and has full
authority to manage property, rituals or other crucial affairs of the family. These
include taking decisions on sale and purchase of family assets, mutation of property
The ruling came on a suit filed by the eldest daughter of a business family in north
Delhi staking claim to be its Karta on the passing of her father and three uncles. She
was challenging her cousin brother.
The family consisted of four brothers, with the surviving eldest shouldering the
responsibility of Karta. Trouble began when the brothers passed away. The eldest
son of a younger brother declared himself to be the next Karta, but was challenged
by the daughter of the eldest brother who is also the senior most member of the

The term co-parcenor refers to rights derived in Hindu law to be the joint legal heir
of assets in a family. Traditional Hindu view, based on treatises such as
Dharmshastra and Mitakshara School of law, recognises only male inheritors to
ancestral property. Amendments to the Hindu Succession Act in 2005 introduced
section 6 that levelled the playing field for women.
The court termed it "rather odd" that following the amendments, "while females
would have equal rights of inheritance in an HUF property, this right could
nonetheless be curtailed when it comes to the management of the same". Section 6
of Hindu Succession Act, it pointed out, did not place any restriction on women
becoming the Karta.
The HC ruling is important because it takes the 2005 reform in the Act to its logical
conclusion. While the amendment restricted itself to providing women equal
inheritance rights, the verdict now allows them to manage property and rituals of a
joint family. Justice Waziri underlined that the "impediment which prevented a
female member of a HUF from becoming a Karta was that she didn't possess the
necessary qualification of co-parcenership", but section 6, "a socially beneficial
legislation", removed that bar.
Justice Waziri said Section 6 gave "equal rights of inheritance to Hindu males and
females, its objective is to recognise the rights of female Hindus and to enhance their
rights to equality apropos succession. Therefore, courts would be extremely vigilant
in any endeavor to curtail or fetter statutory guarantee of enhancement of their rights.
Now that this disqualification has been removed by the 2005 amendment, there is
no reason why Hindu women should be denied the position of a Karta."

The son maintained that Hindu law recognises the right of eldest male member to be
the Karta. He claimed that even the 2005 amendment recognised the rights of a
female to be equal to those of a male only with respect to succession to ancestral
properties, not management of estate.
The concept of in the Hindu joint family is not just a position of power but also
serves a very particular purpose. A Hindu joint family is a very complex entity and
it is very imperative that in order that all the function and duties are carried out
conveniently, there be a centralizing force, which is readily provided by the Karta.
Whether it is reading the legal Karta issues or reading property issues, the Karta
represents the entire joint family and this saves the trouble of multiple claims of
actions. Centralization as the key to good management and this is provided by the

Along with numerous powers, a lot of checks have also been imposed on the Karta
to prevent any misuse of power. This ensures that the Karta work for the benefit of
the joint Hindu family. Law has provided enough remedies to the members of the
joint family to protect their interest in case of despotic behavior by the Karta.
1. Modern Hindu Law- Dr. Paras Diwan, 22nd edition-
Allahabad Law Agency