Q. As a Karta and the male member of Hindu Undivided family, am I legally permitted to buy property? What will be the effect of the property subsequent to my death? Is my wife eligible to be nominated as the next Karta? I also have two married daughters who belong to the same Hindu Undivided family.
Karta is a senior most person who can take decisions for the benefit of the family. Main responsibility of a Karta is to manage the HUF property by working as a custodian of income and assets of HUF. Unless charged for fraud, misrepresentation Karta is not accountable to anyone. Karta has full rights and power to buy properties but it should be in the interest of the family. But to sell a property such power can be exercised only with the consent of coparceners and Karta has no absolute power. Sarda Prasad vs Jumna Prasad, (1961) this case explains about the rights of Karta to manage the family property. On your death partition can occur and the property can be divided if your wife and children wish to do so.
Section 6 of The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005 provides equal rights to both male and female with regard to matters of inheritance wherein daughter also acquires the status of a coparcener. In CIT vs. Seth Govindram Sugar Mills (1965) Supreme Court held that only a coparcener can become a Karta. Daughter would have equal share in the partitioned property under the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005.
After the amendment act women can become a Karta in a Hindu Undivided Family under Mitakshara property. Judicial view is also in favour of the female member who acting as a manager would benefit the family. In another case I.T Commr. Vs. Lakshmi Narayan, the mother as Karta of the undivided family along with her two minor sons had entered into a partnership renewing with her husband’s brother. The court held that under Dayabhaga law woman can be a coparcener and even managers.
Wife can be nominated as Karta even in the absence of adult male member was held by Nagpur High Court. When all male members are minors then their natural guardian will be their mother and so she can be a Karta of HUF as decided in Sushila Devi Rampura v. Income tax Officer (1959). Under Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 gives equal rights to daughters in the property as of sons have under the Mitakshara School.
by Sushma Javare.