What are the Duties and Liabilities of a Karta (Manager) in Hindu Joint Family?

(3) Duty to spend reasonably;

(4) Duty not to start a new business without the consent of the coparceners;

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(5) Duty not to alienate coparcenary property without ‘legal necessity’ or ‘benefit to the estate’.

(1) Duty to Render Accounts:

It is the prime duty of Karta to render accounts to the other coparceners regarding the income from joint family property and the expenditures thereon. But he is not under any obligation to account for his past dealings with the family property unless there is clear proof of misappropriation or fraudulent use of the family funds or estate by him. He is liable to account at the time of partition only and then only for the family property as it exists at the time. But this does not mean that the parties are bound to accept the statement of the Karta as to what the property consisted of.

(2) Duty to Realise Debt Due To the Family:

It is an important duty of the Karta to make sincere efforts to realise the debt due to family. But he cannot give up any debt, although he has got the full power to settle accounts with debtors and to make a reasonable reduction either towards interest or towards principal in the interest of the family.

(3) Duty to Spend Reasonably:

It is the duty of the Karta to spend the joint family funds only for the purposes of the family. It is not his duty to save by resorting to economy unnecessarily. He must spend reasonably. If he spends unreasonably and it is not approved by other members of the family, the remedy would be to demand partition.

(4) Duty Not To Start New Business without the Consent of Other Coparceners:

The Karta must obtain the consent of other coparceners before starting a new business, as he cannot impose the risk of a new business upon the minor as well as adult members of joint family.

In P.S. Sairam v. P.S. Rama Rao Pisey, Karta of the family uses joint family property for his separate business. He has started business by taking loan from market, in the premises of Joint-Hindu property. This property was not used only by the Karta, but also by junior members of Joint family. In this case, the Supreme Court observed that business carried on by Karta cannot be treated to be the joint family business and that properties acquired out of income of said business, have got to be treated as self acquisitions of Karta.

(5) Duty not to alienate coparcenary property except for legal necessity and benefit to the estate:

It is the duty of the Karta to obtain the consent of adult coparceners before alienating the joint family property. But if he alienates the property for legal necessity or for benefit to estate, he need not obtain the consent of other coparceners. Whether the transaction is sought to be justified on the ground of legal necessity or benefit to the estate, the real question to be considered is whether it is fair and proper transaction, such as, a prudent owner would enter into, with the knowledge available to him at the time.

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