Karta of the Joint Family: His position, powers, privileges and obligation
A Hindu joint family consists of the common ancestor and all his lineal male descendants upto any generation together with the wife/ wives (or widows) and unmarried daughters of the common ancestor and of the lineal male descendants. Whatever the skeptic may say about the future of the Hindu joint family, it has been and is still the fundamental aspect of the life of Hindus.A co-parcenery is a narrow body of persons within a joint family. It exclusively consists of male members. A Hindu coparcenery is a corporate entity, though not incorporated. A coparcenery consists of four successive generations including the last male holder of the property. The last male holder of the property is the senior most member of the family.In the entire Hindu joint family, the karta or manager (the English word manager is wholly inadequate in understanding his unique position) occupies a very important position. Karta is the eldest male member of the family. He is the Hindu patriarch. Only a coparcener can become Karta. Such unique is his position that there is no office or any institution or any other system of the world, which can be compared with it. His position is sui generis i.e. of his own kind or peculiar to himself. Peculiarity lies in the fact that in terms of his share/interest, the Karta is not superior and has no superior interests in the coparcenery. If partition takes place he is entitled to take his share. He is a person with limited powers, but, within the ambit of his sphere, he possesses such vast powers as are possessed by none else. His position is recognized /conferred by law. No stranger can ever be qualified to be a karta, but an adopted son who is the eldest in the family can be qualified.Article 236 of the Mulla Hindu Law defines "Karta" as follows: Manager - Property belonging to a joint family is ordinarily managed by the father or other senior member for the time being of the family: The Manager of a joint family is called Karta.In a HUF, the responsibility of Karta is to manage the HUF property. He is the custodian of the income and assets of the HUF. He is liable to make good to other family members with their shares of all sums which he has misappropriated or which he spent for purposes other than those in which the joint family was interested. His role is crucial. He is entrusted not only with the management of land/assets of the family but also is entrusted to do the general welfare of the family.His position is different from the manager of a company or a partnership. The reason behind it is that though the coparcenery deals with lands, assets/property but in an entirely different fashion. When a Karta is bestowed with such a position it is something, which takes place under the operation of law.Who Can Be A Karta? # Senior Most Male Member: - It is a presumption of Hindu law, that ordinarily the senior most male member is the Karta of the joint family.Jandhayala Sreeamma v. Krishnavenamma AIR 1957 A.P.434 In the case of Hindu Joint Family a suit to set aside on alienation filed by the younger of the two brothers within three years of his attaining majority would be barred by limitation if the elder brother, who was the manager and an adult has failed to sue within three years of his attaining majority.The senior most male member is Karta by virtue of the fact that he is senior most male member. He does not owe his position to agreement or consent of other coparceners. So long as he is alive, may be aged, infirm, or ailing, he will continue to be Karta. Even a leper may continue to be the Karta1. However, in cases of insanity or any other disqualifications, the next senior male member generally takes over the Kartaship. Once this is done the former will cease to be a karta.So long as the father is alive, he is the karta. After his death it passes to the senior most male member, who may be the uncle, if coparcenery...
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