Karta of an HUF has almost absolute management rights2 min read . Updated: 23 Mar 2015, 06:58 PM IST
He may manage the family affairs, family property and family business in manner as he may deem fit
Can a property of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) be transferred by an elder male member of the HUF as karta after death of the father without consent of other male members of the HUF who have reached the age of 18?
We are assuming that after the death of the karta (being the father), the next elder in line has become the karta of the HUF, whose power to transfer the property is in question here. We are also assuming that none of the other coparceners in the HUF are minors.
As the head of the family, the karta’s power of management of the family is almost absolute. He may manage the family affairs, family property and family business in such manner as he may deem fit; no one can question his management. However, he cannot deny maintenance or use and occupation of the HUF property to any coparcener.
A karta has power to alienate for value the joint family property in three special cases: legal necessity, benefit of estate or for the performance of indispensable duties. The presence of these circumstances generally depends on facts and circumstances and there are no definite rules as to what falls under these categories. For these purposes, a karta need not take consent of other coparceners of the family, since he has absolute right to manage the HUF property. The only reasonable limitation that can be imposed on the karta is that he must act with prudence, and prudence implies caution as well as foresight and excludes hasty, reckless and arbitrary conduct.
If any of the three special cases referred to above exist, then in such circumstances, a coparcener will not have a right to obstruct the alienation of HUF property since it will amount to right to interfere with the act of management of the karta of the joint family affairs. Therefore, a coparcener will not normally be able to move the court to obtain relief by grant of an injunction restraining the karta from alienating the coparcenary property. However, it does not imply that coparceners cannot do anything in case the karta is unnecessarily or arbitrarily alienating property. In such circumstances, the coparceners have a right to challenge the alienation in a court of law and then the burden of proof will lie on the person alienating others to prove that there was in fact presence of legal necessity, benefit of estate or indispensable duties. Further, if the karta wants to alienate the HUF property for purposes other than the three mentioned above, then the consent of all the coparceners is required. If the karta goes ahead with the alienation without taking consent of all the other coparceners, the alienation becomes voidable to the extent of the undivided share of the non-consenting coparcener.
Guidance can be taken from the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Subhodkumar vs. Bhagwant Namdeorao Mehetre case.
Queries and views at email@example.com