KARTA - HINDU LAW

Updated: May 20

According to the Mitakshara school of law

Karta is manager of joint family property. His position is sui generis.


Who can be a Karta?


Senior-most member

The senior-most member of the family can be a Karta. He does not owe his position to the agreement or consent of another coparcener. A Karta is entitled to Kartaship.

As long as a Karta is alive, maybe aged infirm or ailing, he is entitled to Kartaship. After father’s death, the senior-most male member becomes the Karta, who may be the uncle if coparcenary consists of uncle and nephews, or who may be the eldest brother, if coparcenary consists of brothers.

Junior male member

A junior male member can be a Karta by understanding or agreement between the coparceners.

In M/S Nopany Investments (p) Ltd. V. Santosh Singh, a junior member of Hindu undivided family was realizing rent, he filed a suit for eviction, and the tenant cannot question his locus standi or his capacity to file a suit.

Female member as Karta

In commissioner of income tax v. Seth Govind Ram, it was held that mother or any other female cannot be a Karta.

POSITION OF KARTA

· The Karta is the manager of the joint family. He manages all affairs of the Hindu joint family.

· He is not a partner, his powers are unlimited.

· Karta acts on behalf of other members.

· He is not a trustee

· Karta is not liable for his positive failures i.e. failure to invest, to prepare accounts or to save money.

· He is not bound to pay the income of a joint family in any fixed proportion to other members.

· He is not bound to treat all the members impartially; he may discriminate one against the other.

KARTA’S LIABILITIES

· Karta is liable to maintain members of the joint family.

· He is responsible for the marriage of unmarried member’s, especially unmarried daughters.

· If partition suit is filed he has to prepare accounts.

· He is representative of the joint family.

· He has to pay taxes and other dues on behalf of the family.

· He can be sued for all his dealings on behalf of the family.

POWER’S OF KARTA


· Power of alienation of joint family property

· Power of management – karat manages all the family affairs.

· Right to income- All joint family income is to be handed over to him. He a lot funds to the family member’s and looks after their needs and requirement.

· Right to representation- Karta represents the joint family in all matters i.e. legal, social and religious matters. He acts on behalf of the family.

He can enter into transactions on behalf of the family[1].

· Power of compromise – The Karta has the power to compromise all disputes related to family property or their management. He can also compromise family debts and other transactions.

In Nathathambi v.Vijaya (1927), it was held that if Karta acts of compromise were not bonafide, it can be challenged in a petition.

In Konduru v. Indoor, it was held that the Karta has no right to give up a substantial portion of a debt due to the family merely out of charity or sympathy.

· Karta power to contract debt –Karta has implied authority to contract debt and pledge the credit and property of the family for the ordinary purpose of the family business.

According to Dayabhaga joint family

The eldest male member is ordinarily, the coparcenary. The Karta has to render full accounts at all times, whenever required to do so by any coparcener.

[1] Radhakrishandas v. Kuluram, AIR 1967 SC 574

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