In a Hindu joint family, the senior-most male person is the head of the family and known as Karta. Karta is the leader of the family. He takes care of the family and its property. The relationship of Karta with the other members of the family is not that of a partner, agent or principal. He stands in a fiduciary relationship with the members of the family. The Karta of the family has unlimited liability, also he is not responsible to any member of the family except in case of fraud or misappropriation.

Before Hindu Succession Amendment Act 2005, Hindu females were not allowed to become the coparceners in a joint Hindu family, but after the amendment daughters, are also allowed to become the coparceners in the joint family property.

There are enormous powers that the Karta of a family holds such as 

Power to represent The family does not have a corporate existence, it acts through its Karta. The Karta is the sole representative member of the joint family when it comes to any legal or social matter.

Power of management In the case of Bhaskaran v Bhaskaran, it was held that the Karta of the family has absolute power of management.

Power over income All the members of the joint family hand over their income to the Karta of the family. He looks after the allotment of the funds to the members of the family according to their needs and looks after their requirements.

Power to compromise The power to compromise all the disputes related to family is also vested in Karta. He can take all decisions regarding the compromise whether being related to family or its management

Power to contract debts The Karta has an implied authority to contract debts and pledge the credit of the family for the ordinary purpose of the family business.

Power to enter into the contract The Karta of the family can enter into a contract on behalf of the whole family and such contracts are binding upon the family members.

The concept of Karta in a Joint Hindu family is not only about a position in a family rather it serves an important practical purpose. He is not a trustee, partner or agent of the family but is the head of the family who runs it in the best possible way. Earlier, the view was that a daughter cannot be a coparcener in the joint family property but this view was abandoned after the passing of the Hindu Succession Amendment Act, 2005. This Amendment Act has given daughters equal rights as to that of sons (right of coparcenary). Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act 1956,  has been taken to the more logical consequence and now the female member of the family can also become the Karta of the family as stated by Delhi High Court in Sujata Singh vs Shri Manu Gupta.


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