The right of the Karta of a joint Hindu family to execute agreement to sell or sale deed of a joint Hindu family property is beyond cavil and a coparcener cannot seek injunction against him in a transaction, the Supreme Court said on Monday.
Karta means manager of joint family and joint family properties. He is the person who takes care of day-to-day expenses of the family, looks after the family and protects the joint family properties.
Coparcener is a term used for a person who assumes a legal right in parental property by birth only.
A bench of Justices M R Shah and Sanjiv Khanna said it has been held in many previous decisions that 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.
"Right of the Karta to execute agreement to sell or sale deed of a joint Hindu family property is settled and is beyond cavil.
"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, the bench said.
The top court said 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, the bench said.
The observations came while dealing with an appeal whether K Veluswamy, as a Karta, has legal authority to execute agreement to sell dated December 8, 2006 for sale of the suit land, being agricultural land situated in Bagganadu Kaval Village, J.G. Hally Hobli, Hiriyur Taluk, Chitradurga District, Karnataka.
Veluswamy as a Karta of the joint Hindu family had executed the agreement to sell of the suit property for Rs 29 lakh and had received Rs 4 lakh in advance from Beereddy Dasaratharami Reddy.
On November 26, 2007, Reddy instituted the suit for specific performance of the agreement to sell impleading both Veluswamy and his son V Manjunath.
The local court in its judgement held that Veluswamy as the Karta of the joint Hindu family property was entitled to execute the agreement to sell.
His son V Manjunath preferred the regular first appeal before the High Court of Karnataka which 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 and, therefore, could not have been executed without the signatures of Manjunath.
The top court said that signatures of son of Karta on the agreement to sell were not required.
"Veluswamy being the Karta was entitled to execute the agreement to sell and even alienate the suit property. Absence of signatures of Manjunath would not matter and is inconsequential, the bench said.