The role of “Karta,” or “Manager,” is crucial to the Hindu Joint Family as a whole. No office or establishment in any other global system can be compared to it. Although he is a person with little power, he has enormous power within the joint family, which no one else has.

Who are the Kartas?
The word “karta” refers to the manager of joint families and their holdings. He is the one who looks after the family, handles day-to-day expenses, and guards the joint family properties.

Who can be a Karta?
It is assumed that the Karta is typically the oldest and most manly family member and that no outsider or stranger can become a Karta.
The oldest, most senior male member—regardless of age, infirmity, or illness—continues in his role as Karta. After his passing, the next senior male member will inherit the Kartaship.

A junior cannot act as a karta when a senior member, the majority of the male members, is present. However, if all coparceners agree, a junior can become a Karta.

The agreement or permission of all co-authors is what gives Karta his position.

Female Member:-
Although a female member cannot normally become a Karta, in some rare cases, a female member may operate in that capacity.
The Nagpur High Court maintained that a mother might serve as Karta in the absence of an adult male member, even though she is not a coparcener.
The Supreme Court ruled in Commissioner of Income Tax v. Seth Govind Ram that a mother or any other female member could not be a joint family’s Karta and could not, therefore, transfer joint family property.
Position of Karta:
Being sui generis (of its own kind), Karta’s relationship with members differs from that of a principle, agent, or partner in a partnership firm.
He represents other family members as the leader of the household.

He has a fiduciary relationship with other members, but he is not a trustee; nobody can question what he spent unless there are charges of misappropriation.
If a coparcener accuses Karta of making improper alienations, it is his responsibility to provide evidence that Karta committed these deceptive acts.
Powers of Karta:
Karta is in a joint family and has vast powers with limitations.
1) Management authority: As the family’s head, he has total authority to make decisions. No one can challenge his management of the family business, property, or affairs; he is free to do as he pleases for the good of the estate.

2) Right to Income: It is customary for all members to provide Karta with their income if they work or conduct business on shared family property. As long as the family stays together, no member may request a specific income share; Karta is responsible for allocating monies to the members and attending to their needs and requirements.

3) Right to representation: He speaks for the family in all spheres of life, including social, legal, and religious. He is able to act on behalf of the family in all transactions, and the joint family as a whole is bound by his actions.

4) Compromise power: He is able to reach a compromise on any disagreement about the use or management of family property. He has the ability to jeopardize ongoing lawsuits, family obligations, and other deals. If his actions are not genuine, they may be contested in a partition.

5) The power to refer a dispute to arbitration: Karta has the power to refer any dispute to arbitration and the Arbitrator’s award is binding on all the members.


6) Power of acknowledgment and contracting debts: Karta is able to contract debts on the family’s behalf and has the authority to settle debts or make lump-sum payments.
He has the authority to enter into contracts for the family; obligations incurred in the regular course of business bind the whole joint family.

Even Karta, when taking a loan or executing a promissory note for family purposes or for family business, is liable to pay such a loan.

7) Power to enter into a contract: Karta has the power to enter into a contract, and such a contract is enforceable against the family.

8) Power of alienation: Joint family property cannot be alienated by any member of the family. Karta can, nevertheless, become alienated in three different situations.
a) Need for legal justification
b) estate benefit.
c) The essential tasks
Kartas Liabilities:-
Karta has enormous authority, yet he also holds a fiduciary position with many obligations and responsibilities.
1) Liable to maintain: Karta is in charge of providing for each and every member of the joint family. He may be sued for maintenance as well as arrears of maintenance if he unjustly excludes any member from it.

2) Accounts rendering obligation: Karta is not required to maintain records while the family is still together, but he becomes accountable for family assets upon the moment of division. If a coparcener is dissatisfied with his account, he may file a lawsuit against Karta to find out the truth and to find out if Karta has appropriated anything.

3. The obligation to recoup debts owed by the family: Karta should realize all debts due to the family within a reasonable time but should not allow them to be barred by limitation.

4) Liability to spend reasonably: As Karta of the joint family has control over the income and expenditure of the family, he is the custodian of surplus income. However, he should spend family funds reasonably and for the sake of the family.

5) Liability not to alienate coparcenary property: Unless it is for the benefit of family, estate, or necessity, Karta cannot alienate joint family property without the consent of all the coparceners.

6) Liable not to start a new business: Unless adult co-parents of the family expressly or impliedly consent, Karta cannot
Persons who have the right to partition
1) Father: Father has not merely a right to partition between himself and his sons; he can also effect partition among his sons. Every father can make a partition of his self-acquired property, which means the distribution of his property as per his wishes.

2) Sons, Son’s Son, Son’s Son’s Son:- Every S, SS, SSS are entitled to partition but under Bombay School when the father is joint with his father or brothers consent of the father is essential.
3) Son born after partition: Smritikaras has different opinions on this.
i) Son conceived at the time of partition but born after partition (unborn son)
ii) Son begotten and born after partition (after born son)
iii) If the father renounces his share
iv) Adopted Son
The position of the adopted son also differs from the situation.
a) When there is a subsequently born natural son.
b) When there is no subsequently born natural son.
When a natural son is born after adoption, the interests of the adopted son differ from those of the natural son. 
Right of Adopted Son
1) Bombay and Madras School: 1/5 of the estate
2) Benaras School, ¼ of estate
3) Bengal School: 1/3 of the estate
But presently, by virtue of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956, an adopted son is entitled to an equal share with a natural son.
v) Son of void and voidable marriage
Since the son of a void or voidable marriage is not a co-consumer, he cannot sue for partition.
vi) Illegitimate son
Any category of the illegitimate son is not entitled to partition because he is not a co-parent.
vii) Minor and lunatic coparcener
There is no difference between a major and minor son, a lunatic or a physically deformed son; all are entitled to partition, and if a proper partition is not made by not giving equal shares to them, Coparcener can challenge and reopen to partition.
viii) Absent Coparcener
Any coparcener who is absent at the time of partition has a share to be allotted to him until he specifically renounces his interest. If the share is not allotted, he can also challenge and get the partition reopened.

Right of female:-
As already mentioned, no female has the right to partition, but certain females are entitled to shares if partition is effected.

1) The father’s wife, mother, and grandmother are entitled to share as per the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act 1987 when Mitakshara Coparcener died leaving behind a widow, she took his share at the time of partition she is entitled to take the extent of her husband share.

2) Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act 1987 when Mitakshara Coparcener died leaving behind a widow, she took his share at the time of partition she is entitled to take the extent of her husband’s share. Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act 1987 when Mitakshara Coparcener died leaving behind a widow, she took his share at the time of partition she is entitled to take the extent of her husband’s share.

The widow, daughter, mother, predeceased son’s widow, and his widow, predeceased son’s widow, and daughter’s widow are all entitled to their respective shares under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 U/S 6.

When a coparcener’s alienee files a partition suit, they are entitled to a share up to the coparcener’s entire amount.

There are two exceptions to the general rule that each co-owner has the right to partition:
1. Partitioning is not permitted by an unqualified co-author.
2. If a parent is joint with his own father, sons cannot file a claim for partition against their father.

Adv.khanak Sharma (D\1710\2023)

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