Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where a portion of a joint Hindu Family was alienated ‘out of love and affection’ by way of a gift deed, the bench of SA Nazeer* and Krishna Murari, JJ has explained the scope of powers of members of Joint Hindu Family and has held that a Hindu father or any other managing member of a HUF has power to make a gift of ancestral property only for a ‘pious purpose’.

In the case at hand, a gift deed was executed by the Karta of a Joint Hindi Family in favour of the appellant, who was raised by the Karta, ‘out of love and affection’ and by virtue of which the appellant was given a portion of the joint family property.

The Court, however, held that a Hindu father or any other managing member of a HUF has power to make a gift of ancestral property only for a ‘pious purpose’ and what is understood by the term ‘pious purpose’ is a gift for charitable and/or religious purpose. Therefore, a deed of gift in regard to the ancestral property executed ‘out of love and affection’ does not come within the scope of the term ‘pious purpose’.

Observing that it is irrelevant if such gift or settlement was made by a donor in favour of a donee who was raised by the donor without any relationship, the Court held that the gift deed in the instant case was not for any charitable or religious purpose.

[KC Laxmana v. KC Chandrappa Gowda, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 471, decided on 19.04.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice SA Nazeer


Counsels

For appellant/Donee: Advocate Anand Sanjay M. Nuli

For Respondent/Plaintiff: Senior Advocate Arvind Varma

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a suit where the Karta of a Joint Hindu Family, consisting of himself, his wife and his son, had alienated a property due to legal necessity without the signature of his son, the bench of MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ that the Karta was entitled to execute the agreement to sell and even alienate the suit property and the absence of signature of a coparcener would not nullify the rights and liabilities arising from the agreement to sell.

Factual Background

In the case at hand, one K. Veluswamy, as a Karta of the joint Hindu family, executed the agreement to sell of the suit property for Rs.29 lakhs and had received Rs.4 lakhs in advance from the appellant. His son, V. Manjunath, challenged the alienation and the Karnataka High Court gave him a favourable verdict.

While accepting that K. Veluswamy did execute the agreement to sell for the suit property for Rs.29 lakhs and had received Rs.4 lakhs as advance, the Karnataka High Court held that the agreement to sell is unenforceable as the suit property belongs to the joint Hindu family consisting of three persons, K. Veluswamy, his wife V. Manimegala and his son V. Manjunath and, therefore, could not have been executed without the signatures of V. Manjunath.

Analysis

The Supreme Court took note of the agreement to sell which stated that the subject property is a joint Hindu family property, enjoyed jointly and that the Katha is in the joint names. The executants were in need of funds to meet the domestic necessities and, consequently, had agreed to sell the suit property. As per the agreement, if any dispute arose with regard to the sale transaction, it would be solved by the executants personally at their own risk and cost. Furthery, if there was any loan, mortgage, revenue arrears, etc. over the property, the same shall be cleared by the executants so as to execute and register the sale deed in favour of the appellant. However, the agreement to sell does mention that it would be also executed by V. Manjunath.

Important rulings on right of the Karta to execute agreement to sell or sale deed of a joint Hindu family property

Sri Narayan Bal v. Sridhar Sutar, (1996) 8 SCC 54

A joint Hindu family is capable of acting through its Karta or adult member of the family in management of the joint Hindu family property. A coparcener who has right to claim a share in the joint Hindu family estate cannot seek injunction against the Karta restraining him from dealing with or entering into a transaction from sale of the joint Hindu family property, albeit post alienation has a right to challenge the alienation if the same is not for legal necessity or for betterment of the estate. Where a Karta has alienated a joint Hindu family property for value either for legal necessity or benefit of the estate it would bind the interest of all undivided members of the family even when they are minors or widows. There are no specific grounds that establish the existence of legal necessity and the existence of legal necessity depends upon facts of each case. The Karta enjoys wide discretion in his decision over existence of legal necessity and as to in what way such necessity can be fulfilled. The exercise of powers given the rights of the Karta on fulfilling the requirement of legal necessity or betterment of the estate is valid and binding on other coparceners.

Kehar Singh (D) v. Nachittar Kaur, (2018) 14 SCC 445

Once the factum of existence of legal necessity stood proved, then, in our view, no co-coparcener (son) has a right to challenge the sale made by the karta of his family. The plaintiff being a son was one of the co-coparceners along with his father Pritam Singh. He had no right to challenge such sale in the light of findings of legal necessity being recorded against him. It was more so when the plaintiff failed to prove by any evidence that there was no legal necessity for sale of the suit land or that the evidence adduced by the defendants to prove the factum of existence of legal necessity was either insufficient or irrelevant or no evidence at all.

Ruling on facts

Considering the settled legal position, the Court held that signatures of V. Manjunath, son of Karta – K. Veluswamy, on the agreement to sell were not required. K. Veluswamy being the Karta was entitled to execute the agreement to sell and even alienate the suit property. Absence of signatures of V. Manjunath would not matter and is inconsequential. 

[Beereddy Dasaratharami Reddy v. V. Manjunath, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1236, decided on 13.12.2021]


*Judgment by: Justice Sanjiv Khanna

Know Thy Judge | Justice Sanjiv Khanna

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court, Bench at Aurangabad: Vibha Kankanwadi, J., while addressing a matter revolving around the property, observed that,

Article 254 of the Constitution gets attracted only when both Central and State legislations have been enacted on any of the matters in the said List and there is conflict between two legislations.  

The basic principle is that the Central legislation will prevail as Article 254(1) of the Constitution gives supremacy to the law made by the Parliament.

Factual Background

The instant matter pertained to partition and separate possession.

Appellant submitted that the Courts below did not consider the evidence and the law points properly and the relationship between the parties was not denied.

Plaintiff and the defendant 3 were sisters and defendant 1 was their brother, inter se. Original defendant 2 was their mother and father expired on 14-12-1998 who had left behind the suit property.

There was no actual partition of the property because no share was given to defendant 2. The said property was divided into plots and, therefore, its price went up.

The plaintiff had contended that defendants 1 to 3 intended to oust the plaintiff from inheritance and, therefore, she demanded her share from the suit property, however, it was refused and, therefore, she had filed the suit. Later defendant 2 also expired.

Further, it was denied that the plaintiff and defendants were members of the joint family.

Two hectares and 42 R land was given to defendant No.1 and rest of the property was kept by Jyotiram in the name of himself and defendant No.2 in the year 1982.

Appellants advocate contended that the Courts below wrongly held that the suit property was ancestral and joint Hindu Family property of the plaintiff and the defendants.  Both the Courts below did not properly consider the law point involved in the case and went on to observe that the case was governed by amended Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act (as amended in 2005).

It was further submitted that the plaintiff got married in the year 1966 and defendant 3 got married in 1965. Therefore, even now, those daughters cannot get the benefit of the amendment to the Hindu Succession Act.

Section 29-A of the Hindu Succession Act, which was Maharashtra Amendment, made a specific provision and gave right to unmarried daughter/s after the said Act came into force w.e.f. 22nd June, 1994. Though now all the daughters have been made co-parceners; yet we are required to see that Section 29-A of the Hindu Succession Act, i.e. Maharashtra Amendment, had received assent of Hon’ble President of India.

 Legal Position

A very significant point to be noted was that in the present situation, after Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 was amended in 2005; yet the Centre did not notify or declare that Section 29-A of The Maharashtra Amendment to Hindu Succession Act, as repealed and, therefore, the daughters, who were married prior to 1994, would not get any share in the property left by their father.

In view of the above-stated position, substantial questions of law arose in the present matter, requiring admission of the Second Appeal.

Partition

High Court expressed that both the Courts below, properly appreciated the evidence and concluded that the defendant failed to prove the previous partition allegedly effected in the year 1982.

Main Contention

Section 29-A of the Hindu Succession Act is still in operation and, therefore, the married daughters, i.e. those daughter, who were married prior to 1994, will not get any share either in the ancestral or joint family property.

High Court stated that a limited right was given to the daughter earlier, and therefore, in order to widen the scope and the rights along with and after certain States made amendment; Maharashtra State amended the law and gave right to the daughter equivalent to sons by making her co-parcener. However, it was limited to those daughters, who were unmarried at the time of coming into force of the said provision.

Law on Succession

Court expressed that the law on the point of Succession is at Entry No.5 of the Concurrent List, i.e., List No. III in the Seventh Schedule. Article 254 of the Constitution gets attracted only when both Central and State legislations have been enacted on any of the matters in the said List and there is conflict between two legislations.

Further, it was added by the Bench that in the year 2005, the Union Government brought an amendment to Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act and made the daughters as coparceners and was done with a view to give equal rights to the daughters in comparison to sons. When the Maharashtra State Amendment was restricted to un-married daughters (excluding the daughters, who were married prior to 1994), no such distinction has been made in Section 6 of the amended provision by the Union Government and, therefore, the repugnancy existed.

Taking into consideration both the enactments, i.e., Section 29-A and Section 6, as amended in 2005, they cannot stand together and, therefore, the law made by the Parliament would prevail over the State Law in view of Article 254(1) of the Constitution of India. 

Central enactment, i.e., Section 6 Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 would be applicable to this case and in view thereof, the plaintiff has share in the suit property, which has been rightly adjudicated by both the Courts below.

In Court’s opinion, no substantial question of law as contemplated under Section 100 CPC arose in the present matter, which required the admission of the Second appeal.

Therefore, in view of the decision of Kirpa Ram (deceased) v. Surendra Deo Gaur, [2021 (3) Mh. L.J. 250], the second appeal deserved to be dismissed at the threshold. It deserved to be dismissed.

Civil Application No. 8434 of 2019 was moved by the applicant. The applicant was the wife of original defendant 1 and mother of original defendants 4 and 5. She came with a case that during lifetime of original defendant 2, i.e. her mother-in-law, had executed a will in favour of the applicant and therefore she became owner of other half share of the property and further tried to produce the will.

It was noted that the matter was before the trial court for about 8 years and no attempt was made by defendants to disclose it to the Court that any such will was left by defendant 2.

Court expressed that,

Though the husband and sons had every knowledge about the suit, it is hard to believe that the applicant, who is residing with them, had no knowledge about the suit that was filed; the decree that was passed and the appeal was filed by the husband. There was no attempt on the part of the applicant to contest or get herself added as respondent.

Concluding the matter, Court held that for about four (4) years, nine (9) months and Twenty-six (26) days, the matter was before the first Appellate Court, yet once again no attempt was made by the present applicant to get herself added as party to the proceeding or challenge the decree passed by the Trial Court independently in her own capacity. In view of this, the present application does not deserve to be allowed.[Babu v. Muktabai, Second Appeal No. 402 of 2019, decided on 1-12-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr Mukul S.Kulkarni, Advocate h/for Mr Kiran T.Jamdar, Advocate for Appellants;

Mr GR Syed, Advocate for Respondent No.1;

Mr VD Godbharale, Advocate for Intervenor