Power of Karta

Power of Karta

Power of Karta is discussed in two important cases which are given below

  1. Hunoomanpersaud Panday v, Mussumat Babooee Munraj Koonweree ((1856) 6 Moore’s IA 393].
  2. Brij Narain v. Mangal Prasad [(1923) LR 51 IA 129].

The Power of Karta are as follows:

  1. Powers over the income and expenditure of the family.
  2. Power of alienation of joint family property for legal, necessity, or the benefit of the estate.
  3. Power to contract debts.
  4. Power to start a new business.
  5. Power to give a valid discharge.
  6. Power to refer disputes to arbitration.
  7. Power to represent the joint family in suits and court proceedings.
  8. Power to compromise.


Power of Karta over Income and Expenditure

The manager or Karta of a joint Hindu family has complete control over its income and expenditure. As long as he spends the income of the family for the family, he is not under any legal obligation to economize or to make savings. A Karta cannot misappropriate the family funds or misapply them for purposes other than those of the family. If he does so, he is liable to make good all such sums to the other members of the family.

Power of Karta to Alienate Coparcenary Property

In general, neither Karta nor any other coparcener possesses full power of alienation individually over the joint family property or his interest in the joint family property. However, it is settled that Karta can alienate the joint Hindu family property in exceptional circumstances, i.e., legal necessity and benefit of the estate.

According to the Mitakshara school, the power of a Karta to make a valid alienation is confined to three purposes, namely

  1. In times of distress, i.c., distress that affects the whole family.
  2. For the sake of the benefit of the family, i.e., for its maintenance and
  3. For pious purpose.

In Hunoomanpersaud Panday v. Mussumat Babooee Munraj Koonweree [(1856) 6 Moore’s IA 393),

It was held that the guardian had exercised her powers of mortgaging the estate, and the ruling was that in respect of such a transaction, a bona fide creditor should not suffer when he had acted with due caution, cannot be extended to a case in which it is sought to make the ward personally liable for the debt.

According to it, the power of the guardian is the same as that of a manager of a joint family and applying the test enunciated concerning him, the estate of the minor cannot be rendered liable. It was further held that to validate alienation, it is not necessary to express consent of the other adult members should have been obtained.

The manager has an implied authority to do whatever is best for all concerned, and no coparcener can defeat this power by withholding his The Karta of the joint family can alienate joint family property for value, to bind not only his interest but also that of the other coparceners, including minors, provided it is made with the following essentials in mind:

  1. With the consent of all the coparceners, all of them being adults or
  2. For a legal necessity or
  3. For the benefit of the estate

In Bhaskaran Bhaskaran (1908) ILR 31 Mad 318], it has been held that even though a Karta’s ambit about property alienation is limited, his powers in the management of the family affairs are rather absolute. In Sunil Kumar and another v. Ram Parkash and others [AIR 1988 SC 576], the Apex Court has observed that It is true that a coparcener takes by birth an interest in the ancestral but he is not entitled to separate possession of the coparcenary estate. His rights are not independent of the control of the Karta.

It would be for the Karta to consider the actual family estate. It would be for him to foresee the danger to be averted. And it would be for him to examine as to how best the joint family estate could be beneficially put into use to subserve the interests of the family. A coparcener cannot interfere in these acts of management. Apart from that, a father-Karta in addition to the aforesaid powers of alienation has also the special power to sell or mortgage ancestral property to discharge his antecedent debt which is not tainted with immorality.

If there is no such need or benefit, the purchaser takes the risk and the right and interest of the coparcener will remain unimpaired in the alienated property. pressure on the auto No doubt the law confers a right on the coparcener to challenge the alienation made by Karta, but that right is not inclusive of the right to obstruct alienation. Nor the right to obstruct alienation could be considered as incidental to the right to challenge the alienation.

These are two distinct rights. One is the right to claim a share in the joint family estate free from unnecessary and unwanted encumbrance. The other is a right to joint family affairs. The coparcener cannot claim the latter right and indeed, he is not entitled to it. Therefore, he cannot move the Court to grant relief by an injunction restraining the Karta from alienating the coparcenary property.

In Ramesh Slo Damodarn Deshmukh v. Damodar Slo D. Deshmukh (1999 (1) BomCR 863 (1999) 1 BomCR 863], following the ruling given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the above case, the court held that Karta is not required to obtain the consent of the other coparceners for alienation, and if the alienation is for legal necessity, it will bind the other coparceners.

Power of Karta to Contract Debts

The manager of a joint family has an implied authority to contract debts and pledge the property of the family for this purpose. Such debts would be binding on the other members of the family to the extent of their interest in such property.

Power of Karta to Acknowledge Debts

A manager of a joint family has the power to acknowledge a debt due to the family and pass a promissory note to revive a debt that is already time-barred.

Power to Give a Valid Discharge

The Karta has the full power to give a valid discharge for all debts due to the family. This power is absolute that can be exercised even when there are dissidents in the family.

Power of Karta to Refer a Dispute to Arbitration

A Karta has also the power to refer disputes (relating to joint family property) to arbitration provided he does so bona fide, i.c., without one or collusion and for the benefit of the family.

Power of Karta to Represent the Joint Family in Suits and Other Proceedings

In a suit by or against a joint Hindu family, the Karta fully represents the whole family, and other members of the family are not necessarily parties to such a suit.

Power of Karta to Compromise

If a manager of a joint Hindu family enters into a bona fide compromise, it binds all the other members of the family, including minors.

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