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Joint Hindu Family

The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, governs the Hindu Succession Act, which is an unavoidable and essential principle of Hindu family law. It is a common occurrence in Hindu civilization. For a Hindu, it is a never-ending process; if it comes to an end in one generation due to a division, it will immediately reappear in the following generation. The premise that every Hindu family is a Joint Hindu family is supported by this regulation.

As stated in Rukhmabai v. Lala LaxmiNarayan and Rajagopal v Padmini, a family is deemed to be a joint family if it is united in matters of food, worship, and estate. Even though a family does not share meals or worship, i.e. if they live apart, they might still be considered a Joint Hindu family if they share an estate.

As established in the case of Chhotey Lal and Ors. v. Jhandey Lal and Anr., a Joint Hindu Family is not a business nor a juristic person since it lacks an independent legal existence from its members. It is a unit that is represented in all matters by the family's Karta.

As stated in Surjit Lal Chhabda v. CIT, it comprises of all male family members descended lineally up to any generation from a common ancestor, as well as their mothers, spouses, widows, and unmarried daughters. Until she marries, a daughter remains a member of her parents' joint family. She becomes a member of her husband's Joint Hindu family once she marries.

If a daughter's husband abandons her or she becomes a widow and returns to her father's house permanently, she rejoins the Joint Hindu family. Her children, on the other hand, remain in their father's Joint Hindu family and do not join the mother's father's Joint Hindu family. Even an illegitimate offspring of a male descendent shall be a part of his Joint Hindu family, according to the case of Gur Narain Das v. Gur Tahal Das.

It is important to remember that a Joint Hindu Family cannot be formed without a shared ancestor. The presence of a common ancestor is required for its formation, but not for its continuance, i.e. the death of the common ancestor does not result in the dissolution of the Joint Hindu Family. The marriage, birth, or adoption of the child in the marriage removes upper family relationships and adds lower family links.

This cycle will continue as long as the species does not go extinct. The Sapinda connection (belonging to the same ancestors, up to three and five lines of descent from the mother's and father's sides, respectively) or familial relationship binds the members.

The status of being a part of the Joint Hindu Family can be ceased in the following cases:

  • By conversion to another religion or faith.
  • By marriage to a non-Hindu(a person who is not Hindu as per Section 2 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 which include a Muslim, Jew, Parsi or Christian by religion).
  • By being given in adoption to a third party by the competent parents.
  • By marriage of a daughter.

Position when there is only one male member in the family
In this instance, the Joint Hindu family can still operate because the presence of a male member is only required to form a Joint Hindu family, not to keep it going. It is not required for the family to have at least two male members to qualify as a Hindu Undivided family for tax purposes. In the case of CIT v. Gomedalli Lakshminarayan, it was decided that even though a family does not have a coparcenary, the family is still considered a Hindu Undivided family.

Position when there are only female members (widow)
A joint Hindu family can continue to exist after the death of the single male member at the request of the family's already existing female members. Starting or creating a joint family for the first time is not the same as 'continuation.'

Position when there are only daughters
Before the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956:
As previously stated, in order to sustain the Joint Hindu family, female members should be able to add a male member. Prior to 1956, however, females were unable to join their father's joint family by adding a male member. The reason for this is that she can only have a legitimate kid when she marries, and once married, she becomes a member of her husband's joint family and no longer belongs to her father's joint family.

After the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956
Even a single woman might adopt a kid under the terms of the Act. According to the legislation, an adopted kid has the same legal standing as a child born into the family. Without being married, the woman might now add a male member to her father's Joint Hindu household. As a result, a single parent can also care for an adopted kid.

After the 2005 amendment in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956
The amendment to the Act gave the right to a daughter to be a coparcener and now she can not only continue the Joint Hindu family but also constitute one with her father and brothers.

Position when there are only husband and wife
Because the couple has the option of adding a male member to the family, or in other words, a coparcener, they can form a Joint Hindu Family. There is a split in court opinion on whether a husband and wife can establish a joint family under revenue legislation in order to qualify for the Hindu Undivided Family tax exemption. In the matter of T. Srinivasan v. CIT, a joint Hindu family was divided, and the son claimed his half. He submitted his returns as an individual for a period before getting married. When his wife became pregnant, he considered the subject. It was once believed that a son does not become a member of the joint family until he is born.

The notion of coparcenary, Karta, and other aspects of Hindu law were previously founded on a patriarchal perspective. Coparcenary is seen as a subset of the Joint Hindu family's core idea. With the passage of time, and particularly with the passage of the Hindu Succession Act, 2005, the legislature attempted to equalise women's rights and, to some extent, abolish patriarchy.

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