Hindu Joint Family
- It has a patrilineal common ancestor and all his lineal male descendants up to any
generation, as well as the common ancestor's and lineal male descendants' wives,
widows, and unmarried daughters. Decision making powers lies with the males. Head
of the family is the last holder of the ancestral/joint property. It is presumed that every
Hindu family is a joint family. Relocating to different cities won't change the fact that
you are still a part of a joint family. You are still a claimant to the ancestral property.
However, if a Hindu family is not joint at place of living, or does not share same
kitchen, or does not preach the same deity. It does not imply that the Hindu family has
ceased to be a joint family.
- Existence of joint/ancestral property isn't a necessary condition precedent to the
existence of a joint family. Though, it is rare to see a joint family with no
ancestral/joint property. When a property is purchased, a person who wants his share
to be a separate property, has to prove it. Otherwise, it would be presumed that the
person is joint with the property Hindu Joint Family is not a separate legal entity but
for tax purposes, Hindu joint family is also called/referred as Hindu Undivided
Family. Only one PAN card is used to pay tax for the whole Hindu Joint
Family/Hindu Undivided Family.
- Unmarried daughters on marriage cease to be a part of her father's joint family and
joins her husband's joint family. If a daughter becomes a widow or is deserted by the
husband and returns to her father's house permanently, she again becomes a member
of her father's joint family. However, her children don't become the members of her
father's joint family and continue being members of their father's joint family. An
illegitimate son of a male descendent would be a member of his father's joint family.
A child in the womb until born is not a part of the joint family.
- Conclusively, it can be determined that Hindu joint family is a wide body that does
not follow a Four-degree rule, whose members enjoy only limited rights as their
rights, interests, and shares are determined by the law of succession and whose
extinction is rare and in which existence of a joint/ancestral property is not a
- It is a narrow body of persons within the wide ambit of Hindu Joint Family. It
consists/comprises of Father, Son, Grandson, Great Grandson. Father with three lineal
descendants i.e. Four generations are considered as coparceners to the ancestral/joint
property known as Four-degree rule. A person or a male descendant who is not a part
of the four generations, would not be considered as a coparcener. All the coparceners
have an interest in the coparcenary property by birth and have a right to ask for
partition of the same. As per classical law, no female could be a member of thecoparcenary. In other words, females could not be coparceners to the ancestral/joint
property. An illegitimate son of a male lineal descendant is a member of the Hindu
joint family but he is not a member of the coparcenary property i.e., he is not a
coparcener even if he is under the four generations.
- Coparcenary under Mitakshara school arises during the lifetime of the father and his
sons have right by birth i.e., Equal share of rights and property. In Mitakshara school,
births and deaths of coparceners lead to fluctuation of interest. It passes the doctrine
of survivorship i.e., if one dies, interest gets divided in the surviving members.
power of alienation either doesn't exist or is recognised for a limited extent. Females
mostly have a status of dependence, they get maintained by the coparceners especially
and they neither had controlling authority nor right by birth to the ancestral property
till Hindu Succession Amendment Act, 2005. Rights conferred by the Karta are that
he is the manager of the finances of the ancestral/joint/coparcenary property, he is the
custodian of the surplus accumulated by the financial transactions as being the senior
most member, there is a sense of trust developed so he acts as the trustee to the
There is a wide power od discretion for the coparcenary
property. This is contradictory to the right to challenge alienation by the Karta, so,
basically, alienation done fairly is not challengeable. He is the representative of the
Joint Hindu Family and the coparcenary system. Karta has the right to enter into a
contract, acknowledge the debts, pay the Hindu Undivided Family taxes.
There is no
legal remuneration for being a Karta but the members can decide upon themselves, if
they want to pay the Karta for his work decided in the case of Jugal Kishore
v/s CIT SC (1967). A daughter is born into the family, but she is no longer a member of
the family when she marries. Other female members, on the other hand, become
members of the joint family by marriage to lineal male descendants but are not born
in this family.
As a result, these ladies cannot be given a position that is determined
by birth. Second, in order to be a Karta, he must not only be a man, but also a
coparcener, as a guy who is not a coparcener cannot become a Karta. Partition only
followed in Mitakshara school, fixes the share of each coparcener as it crystalises the
fluctuating interest of a coparcener into a specific share in the joint family property or
the ancestral property. There is an existence of unity of possession and unity of
It brings the joint status to an end as physical provision of the share and no
longer a part of the joint family are the two consequences of the partition. Fixing
interest by the way of partition basically means that separate property of the person
demanding partition and forming a new coparcenary property with the same after
birth of a lineal male descendant. After the birth of a son, such separate property is
shared by the other members, thus, making it a coparcenary property.
DE JURE means express demand of partition leading to severance of status/
unity of interest and DE FACTO means physical division of the
ancestral/joint property/unity of possession.
Partition can be broadly classified into two types:
- Partial/individual partition: It is the division/partition of the joint
demanded by an individual.
- Complete partition: It is the division/partition of the ancestral
demanded by all the persons of the family.
- Partition of partible and impartible properties can be done by equitable distribution, adjustment of value by Karta to satisfy the partitioned share in terms of cash and kind,Hindu Succession Amendment Act, 2005adjustment of claims by clarifying all the demanded claims, division of mesne profits
i.e., any addition to the value of the joint property is also to be divided, and if exist
any past dealings, they are to be settled as well.
- After partition, the person forms another coparcenary as he is alone the male member
along with his wife, he shall be the sole coparcener till the time a son is born. As a son
is born, the property gets shared between the son and the father.
- Doctrine of Propinquity means that after a death, the property goes to nearer relatives
with whom there is a relation by blood. This means Agnates (Blood relatives from the
paternal side) are preferred over Cognates (Blood relatives from the maternal side).
- There is an unobstructed heritage under Mitakshara school as there is right by birth or
vested interest, there is no obstruction in getting the property/heritage. It devolves by
the way of survivorship and not by law of succession. The devolution of interest in the
ancestral/joint property in Mitakshara school is unobstructed in nature.
- However, in Dayabhaga school, there does not exist any concept of coparcenary.
There is no right by birth, ownership to the property can only be by death of the last
holder of the ancestral/joint property.
- Doctrine of Spes successionis means that there is mere chance of succession. In other
words, Dayabhaga system does not follow the Four-degree rule unlike Mitakshara
school. There does not exist any right to ask for partition of the ancestral/joint
property during lifetime of the father/last holder. Members under Dayabhaga have
tenancy in common as they are not the coparceners, they are just in line to inherit the
ancestral/joint property after the death of the last holder. There is no fluctuation of
interest as there in no vested interest as there does not exist right by birth.
- Doctrine of Religious Efficacy also known as PIND DAAN, in order to pay homage
to the late ancestor, it rejects the concept of preference of agnates over cognates. In
Dayabhaga school, each coparcener has a defined interest, father can alienate as the
last holder has the absolute control, power, ownership of the ancestral/joint property.
Under Dayabhaga school, after the death of the last holder of the ancestral/joint
property, the heirs to such property become the coparceners to the property and
females also get rights over the ancestral/joint property. There is an obstructed
heritage under Dayabhaga school as right to property which accrues not by birth but
by death of the last holder.
It's not a vested right, it's a contingent interest. So, every
person in the line who wants to get the property is obstructed by happening of an
event because they don't have a right by birth. It devolves by doctrine of Spes
successionis and not by doctrine of survivorship.
- Conclusively, it can be strongminded that coparcenary is a narrow body that follows
the Four-degree rule whose members enjoy wide rights as there is doctrine of
survivorship that prevails over doctrine of Spes succionis and whose extinction is
possible when all the coparceners are dead, and in which existence of a joint/ancestral
property is a mandatory condition.
Types Of Property Under Hindu Law:
Coparcenary property/ancestral property
- It is an ancestral property from the common ancestor.
- Doctrine of accretion means the addition to the value of
ancestral/joint/coparcenary property like property acquired with the aid of
- Doctrine of detriment means deduction to the value of
ancestral/joint/coparcenary property like property acquired at the cost of
- Doctrine of blending means usage of a separate property voluntarily to blend
with the ancestral property.
- Doctrine of blending means usage of a separate property voluntarily to blend
with the ancestral property.
- It is the property inherited by the way of obstructed heritage. A self-acquired
property or a property given as a gift is called separate property. Small portion
of an ancestral/joint/coparcenary property given as a gift to the unmarried
daughter in her marriage by the father is considered to be a separate property
of her own. Separate property is to be shared by the next male descendants as
coparceners. Benefits of insurance policies enjoyed by the heirs after the death
of the last holder of the property are considered their separate property.
Income/grants acquired by skills/talent are to be considered as separate
property including grants from the government.
- Sole surviving coparcener after death of other coparceners does not get the
authority and control over the whole property. However, he is liable to
maintain wives, widows and unmarried daughters. Maintenance, education
expenses, medical expenses, marriage expenses, funeral expenses are borne by
the sole surviving coparcener.
- Magunti v/s Lingaraj, Air 1956 Ori 1.
It was believed that under some unusual circumstances, a female may function
as a Karta, and her judgement would be binding on all family members
does not appear to be correct, as she is neither a coparcener nor a
holder of coparcenary property. She can serve as a guardian on behalf of a
minor coparcener, but this does not make her the Karta. As a result, a mother
cannot be a Karta.
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