Karta of Joint family possesses a pivotal position. His position is sue generis . He is the person with limited power but within the scope or ambit of sphere he has very vast powers as are possess by non else. Karta is responsible for maintaining the member of joint family and he is also responsible to marriage of all the unmarried members in the family especially daughter.
Who can be Karta?
1) Senior most male member of Joint family:
It is the presumption of hindu joint family that the senior most male member be the karta of joint family. Senior most male member is the karta by virtue of fact that he is senior most male member.
So long he is alive, may be aged or infirm he will be continue as karta. Even a leper may be continue as karta. So long the father is alive he is karta. After the death of father it passes to senior most male member which may be uncle or may be eldest brother etc.
2) Junior male member:
In the presence of senior most male member in the joint family then junior male member cannot become karta but if all the coparcener agree only then the junior male member can be karta. Junior male member ownes his appointment to consent of coparcener. The coparcener can withdraw his consent at any time.
3) More than one karta-
In joint family there can be more than one karta.
4) Female member as karta –
The nagpur high court held the view that the mother though not the coparcener can be in absence of any senior most male member be karta of joint family and her act will be binding on all the members of joint family as same as that of karta.
Commerce of income tax vs Seth Govind Ram
In this case the supreme court held the view that the mother or any other female cannot be karta of joint family and also cannot alienated joint family property. According to hindu sages only the coparcener of joint family become the karta of joint family. And at that time female does not have the coparcener right.
Gangoli vs HK Channappa
In this case the karnataka high court held the view that the mother as natural guardian of minor son can manage joint family property and the appointment of guardian by court is not justified it is done only in case where the father is dies or there is no adult male member present in joint family.
The position of karta is not principle, agent or partner. He is not like manager of any commercial firm. Instead of that he is the head of family and act on behalf of other members. Not like the partner because the powers are always unlimited. He is the master of grand show of joint family and manage all the affairs of its business.
Karta liability are numerous. He is responsible to maintain all the member of joint family, all the coparcener and others like illegitimate child or a widow. If he improperly exclude any member from maintenance and not give maintenance to any member then he can be sued for maintainance or arrears of maintenance.
He is also responsible to marriage of all the unmarried members. It is basically applied on unmarried daughter. If any partition suit is file then in such case he has to prove accounts. It basically the meaning changed according to Dayabagha and Mitakshara school. Karta is the head of family. And he is responsible for any act of any member of joint family. Karta is responsible to pay taxes or dues and debts on behalf of joint family.
Powers of karta are vast and limitations are few. Basically power of karta are considered under two heads-
1) Power of Alienation
2) Other power in former case his power is limited
Power and rights of Karta are following –
1) Power of Management – Karta has power to manage all the business affairs of family and maintain joint family. He can also the power to give some extra benefits to one person like extra share in property etc and reduce the benefits of other members of joint family and members have no right to sued karta in such case.
2) Right to Income- Karta has right to income. It means all the member deposit there income in hands of karta and after collection karta will decide and distribute money to member accordingly to their needs and demand.
3) Right to represent – Karta has right to represent the whole family in cultural, political and social norms and also to participate them on behalf of whole family. And there is no need to take consent of each member by karta.
4) Power of compromise – Karta has power to compromise in case when there is any dispute between the members of joint family related to property or anything.
5) Power to suggest dispute for arbitration – Karta has power to refer the dispute to arbitration and the decision taken by arbitration and the awards given by them will be binding on all the members of joint family.
6) Power to give a loan on promissory notes- Karta has the power to give loan on behalf of the whole family and for benefit of family give loan on promissory notes.
7) Power to enter into any contract – Karta has power to enter into any contract on behalf of family members and it is binding on all the members.
8) Power of Alienation – Karta has power to alienate the property but only in exceptional cases after the consent of the coparcener.
9) Power of Acknowledgement – Karta has the power of acknowledgement the facts and deals with all the problems and also bears all the debts and loans on behalf of all the whole family members.
Author: Mohak Jain,
Ideal Institute of Management and Technology Karkardooma