In an Empowering Judgement, Delhi HC Rules That a Hindu Woman Can Be ‘Karta’ of the Family

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In a landmark judgement, the Delhi High Court has ruled that the eldest woman in a family can be its ‘Karta’ – a person who manages a joint family and its properties. According to Hindu texts and customs, this role is traditionally taken up by men.

The ‘Karta’ has the ultimate power in matters concerning management of properties.


Photo source: Flickr/Steve Evans

“If a male member of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), by virtue of his being the first born, can be a Karta, so can a female member. The court finds no restriction in law preventing the eldest female co-parcener of an HUF, from being its Karta,” Justice Najmi Waziri said in a judgement made public earlier this week.

A parcener is a person who shares with others in the inheritance of an undivided estate or in the rights to it.

The verdict was based on a suit filed by the eldest daughter of a business family from Delhi. She claimed to be the ‘Karta’ of the family, after her father and uncles passed on. She was challenging her cousin brother in court, as she is the most senior member in the family.

Those opposing the daughter’s claim had argued that Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act only mentions the woman’s right to inherit property and not manage it.

According to the Hindustan Times, Justice Waziri said, “The impediment, which prevented a female HUF member from becoming its Karta, was that she did not possess the necessary qualification of co-parcenership… Now that this disqualification has been removed by the 2005 amendment in the Hindu Succession Act, there is no reason why Hindu women should be denied the position of a Karta.”

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