Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Can my children claim rights to their grandmother’s property?


My father died intestate in 2015. He had purchased land in my mother’s name. After his death, my mother, my sister and I made a first-class notary agreement that we will have equal  rights over the property. I did not know anything about coparceners. I have a 5-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. Can I file a suit claiming that my children have a share over the unpartitioned property?

—Name withheld on request


Since your father purchased the property in your mother’s name, it will be treated as your mother’s property, owned by your mother. Your mother being the legal owner of the property is entitled to deal with property in the manner she deems fit. This property will not be considered as a part of your father’s estate or a joint family property. Hence, your children are not entitled to have a share in the property as a coparcener.


Does a Karta have any legal responsibility to coparceners? 

—Name withheld on request

A Karta of the joint family property is the manager of the property. Although the senior-most male member of the family is the Karta, a junior member can also become the Karta if all the coparceners agree to it. A female may also be a Karta in certain circumstances.

 A Karta of a joint Hindu family can dispose of joint family property involving the undivided interest of the family including the minor’s interest. The Apex Court has among other things, laid down that the limitation of the power of the Karta to manage and sell the joint Hindu family property on behalf of the joint family comprising of a minor is misplaced, as a coparcener has no right to interfere in the act of management of the joint family affairs.

It is also settled that a Karta may alienate the joint family property for value, either for legal necessity or for the benefit of the estate, to bind the interests of all the undivided members of the family, whether they are adults or minors or widows. This being the position, a coparcener cannot seek an injunction restraining the Karta from alienating joint Hindu family property, but has a right to challenge alienation, as the alienation is not beyond the scope of challenge by other members of the joint family, and thereby scrutiny of the court. 

Latter right entails the right to claim a share in the joint family estate free from unnecessary and unwanted encumbrances, whereas the former embraces the right to interfere with the act of management of the joint family affairs.

Aradhana Bhansali is partner at Rajani Associates.

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