CASE 4:MRS. SUJATA SHARMA V/S. SHRI MANU GUPTA (Delhi High Court), CS(OS) 2011/2006, Date of Judgment: 22-12-2015

Hindu Succession Act

Delhi High Court’s Landmark Judgement that paved the way for Women to be Karta of a HUF.

In the present case, a suit was filed by the eldest daughter of HUF claiming her right to be Karta of HUF and challenging her cousin brother’s claim after the passing of her father and three uncles.
The question before the Court was “Whether the eldest female, being the first born amongst the coparceners of the HUF property, would by virtue of her birth, be entitled to be its Karta?”

The learned counsel for the plaintiff further relies upon the 174th Report of the Law Commission of India, which has argued that when women are equal in all respects of modern day life, there is no reason why they should be deprived of the right and privilege of managing HUF as their Karta. She argues that it is in this context, that Section 6 was so formulated that it covers all aspects of succession to a coparcener which are available to a male member to be equally available to a female member also.
It is rather an odd proposition that while females would have equal rights of inheritance in an HUF property, this right could nonetheless be curtailed when it comes to the management of the same. The clear language of Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act does not stipulate any such restriction.
What emerges from the above discussion is that the impediment which prevented a female member of a HUF from becoming its Karta was that she did not possess the necessary qualification of co-parcenership. Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act is a socially beneficial legislation; it gives equal rights of inheritance to Hindu males and females. Its objective is to recognize the rights of female Hindus as co-parceners and to enhance their right to equality apropos succession.

Therefore, Courts would be extremely vigilant apropos any endeavour to curtail or fetter the statutory guarantee of enhancement of their rights. Now that this disqualification has been removed by the 2005 Amendment, there is no reason why Hindu women should be denied the position of a Karta. If a male member of an HUF, by virtue of his being the first born eldest, can be a Karta, so can a female member.

The Courts finds no restriction in the law preventing the eldest female co-parcener of an HUF, from being its Karta. The plaintiff’s father’s right in the HUF did not dissipate but was inherited by her. Nor did her marriage alter the right to inherit the co-parcenery to which she succeeded after her father’s demise in terms of Section 6. The said provision only emphasises the statutory rights of females. Accordingly, the related issues were too found in favour of the plaintiff.