Law does not restrict the eldest female coparcener of HUF property from being its Karta

Delhi High Court: In a path breaking decision the Bench of Najmi Waziri, J., while answering a vital question that whether a female being the first born amongst the coparceners of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) property, particularly after her marriage, would by virtue of her birth, be entitled to be a  Karta, observed that the law provides no restrictions so as to prevent the eldest female coparcener of a HUF, from being its Karta. The Court further observed that As per Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the plaintiff’s right in the HUF property did not dissolve after her father’s death, but was inherited by her, which cannot be altered by the virtue of her marriage.

In the present case, the petitioner had moved a petition demanding enforcement of her right to be the Karta of the HUF property of her deceased father. The counsel for petitioner Mala Goel, argued that Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 that the daughter of a coparcener by birth is subject to same rights and liabilities as that of a son .The counsel further referred case of Tribhovan Das Haribhai Tamboli v. Gujarat Revenue Tribunal, (1991) 3 SCC 442  which held that the senior most member in a HUF would be a karta. The arguments of the plaintiff were vehemently opposed by the defendant counsel Aslam Ahmed who submitted that that the Amendment in 2005 to the Hindu Succession Act only recognized the rights of a female member to be equivalent to those of men. They submitted that Section 6 of the Hindu succession Act defines the rights with respect to the inheritance and not its management.

Perusing the contentions and the relevant material on the point, the Court discussed at length the scenario whereby it observed the right of a female coparcener to be a Karta of HUF has been recognized by the 2005 Amendment, thus there is no reason as to why Hindu women should be denied the position of a Karta. Moreover there is a positive constitutional protection in favor of the women under Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution as well as in the Directive Principles of State Policy granting females the same right as men in all aspects of life is a very important component for women to live with dignity. [Sujata Sharma v. Manu Gupta, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 14424, decided on 22-12-2015]

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  • The Court further observed that As per Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the plaintiff’s right in the HUF property did not dissolve after her father’s death, but was inherited by her, which cannot be altered by the virtue of her marriage.

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