Karta of joint hindu family position, powers and functions

Karta of joint hindu family position, powers and functions

I will start with position of karta


Karta is the head of the joint hindu family. His position is main in the joint hindu family.The term karta has been explained or defined  in the case of Suraj koer v.Sheo Persad. The person who manages the joint hindu family is called karta. The absolute powers of the Patriarach have now  evolved into superior powers that are accompanied by similar responsibilities are several and quite multifaceted. The power of alienation of karta is limited since alienation can only be done in exceptional cases. The other powers of karta are almost absolute. He is not the person who takes care of day to day expenses, karta is sui generis the relationship between him and members is not like principal or agent or like partners in a partnership firm.He stands fiduciary relationship with other members but he is not a trustee, nobody can question what he spent unless charges of misappropriation. When any coparcener charges of improper alienations made by karta, burden of proof lies on him to prove such malafide act of karta. He obtains no reward for his services and he discharge many burdensome responsibilities towards the family and its members.

Powers of karta.


  • He is the head of family,his management powers are absolute.
  • He may manage the family affairs and family property and business the way he likes for the benefit for others.


  • Has control over income and expenditure of family.
  • He is authorized to spend for maintenance ,residence,education,marriage and other religious ceremonies of the coparceners and their family.
  • So long as family remains joint ,no member can ask for any specified share in the income.

3.Right to representatives

  • He represent the family in all matters ,legal,social and religious .
  • He can enter into any transaction on behalf of the family ,his acts are binding on the entire joint family.

4. Power to compromise

  • He has power to compromise all disputes relating to family property or their management.
  • He can compromise pending suits ,family debts and other transactions.
  • However if his act is not bonafide can be challenged in partition.

5. Power to refer to arbitration

  • Karta has power to refer any dispute to arbitration
  • Arbitartor’s award is binding on all the members
  • He must does so with the bonafide intention


  • Karta has power to enter into contract and such contract is enforceable against the family.
  • The reason is that if such powers is not conferred upon him,it is quite impossible to carry on the business at all.


  • Nobody in the family has power to alienate joint family property.
  • However Karta has power of alenation under 3 circumstances .
    1. Legal necessity
    2. Benefit of estate
    3. Indispensable for duties.


1.Liable to maintain

  • Karta is responsible to maintain all members of joint family.
  • If he improperly excludes any member from maintenance,he can be sued for maintenance and also for arrears for maintenance.

2. Liability to render accounts .

  • As long as family remains joint,karta is not supposed to keep accounts.
  • When partition takes place at that time he is liable to account for family property.
  • In the following cases karta can be called upon to give an account of past dealing.
    1. One member is excluded from enjoyment of property
    2. Karta fraudulently convert the family income to his own purpose.

  3. Liability to realize debts due to the family

  • Karta should realize all debts due to family with in reasonable time.
  • But he is not empowered to give up any debt.
  • He is empowered to settle accounts with debtors and to make reasonable reductions.

4. Liabilty to spend reasonably

  • He should spend family funds reasonably and for the purpose of family.
  • He is not under obligation to economize, save as paid or trustee would do.

5. Liabilty not to alienate coparcenary property

  • Unless it is for benefit for family ,estate or for necessity karta can’t alienate joint family property without the consent of all the coparceners.

6. Liable not to start new business

  • Unless adult coparceners of the family expressely or impliedy consents,karta cannot start new business.

7. Liability to compensate

  • In case of proved misrepresentation or fraudulent and improper conversion by the karta of family property, he is liable to compensate other coparcener.

Author: vedant bajaj,
Symbiois law school nagpur,Ballb 1st yr student

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