1) Introduction 

       In Hindu joint family, the senior most male ascendant is the head of the family and is called The Karta.  Karta represents the family and acts on its behalf. In a family consisting of the father and his children, father is the Karta when he dies his eldest son becomes the Karta. Thus in a joint family consisting of brothers the eldest brother is the Karta. It is open to the senior member to give up his right of Management. Then one junior to him can become the Karta. Karta is the head of the joint family acts on behalf of the member of the joint family.

2) Who is Karta

            Karta is the head of the Hindu joint family. he is also known as ‘karata’. he occupies a unique position in the management of the joint family. the father or the senior most male member act as ‘karta’ .even a junior most member can be a karta , if the other male members (coparceners) agree to it. A minor male (coparceners) may also act as a karta through his legal guardian till the become a major.

3) Can a female be a Karta?

       A woman cannot be a coparcener she cannot become the manager /Karta of the Hindu joint family. the relevant leading case on this point is.

Gangoli Rao vs.Chinnappa AIR 1983 (K222)---In this Case A, a father has a wife and two minor sons .a died leaving behind his undivided interest in the joint family property .the widow alienated the property .the alienation was challenged by the sons on the ground that a woman cannot be a Karta and hence cannot alienate the property. The widow justified the alienation, contending that it was made by necessity.it was held that the alienation by the widow /mother in such situation is valid .but on appeal ,the supreme court admitted the contention of the sons and held that woman cannot be a coparcener and Karta, following the decision in commissioner I.T vs .S.M .Mills, AIR 1966SC24.

See in Detail Can a Female be a Coparcener and Karta?

4) The Position of Karta

         Karta is the head of the joint family acts on behalf of the member of the joint family. the position of the Karta is “sui generis “, sui generis in the sense that his position is not that of the manager of a commercial firm and his relationship with the other members is not that of the principal and agent or firm and partner.

                Ojha j, in Chandrakant vs C.T.R(AIR 1992 SC 66) viewed that there can be Partnership between Karta and other members. The Karta may contribute capital . while the member may contribute labor and skill.

                However, the power of Karta are not absolute or unlimited within the ambit of his sphere, he possesses such vast power which on one can processes

5) Duties and liabilities of Karta -

 Karta is the administrator of the joint family. Duties and liabilities of Karta are as follows -

 1. he is responsible to maintain all member can sue him for the maintenance and can also recover the arrears of the maintenance.

2. Krta is responsible to perform the marriage of all the unmarried members, particularly, the female members(daughters)

3. Karta has to prepare the account if a suit is filed by a coparcener for partition

4. In a family, Karta is bound to pay taxes and all other dues on behalf of the joint family.

5. Karta may be sued for failure to discharge the above duties and obligations.

See also

Difference between Joint Family and Coparcenary

Doctrine Of Pious Obligation


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