Ancestral property of Hindu Undivided Family can be gifted only for pious purpose and not out of love and affection

Ancestral property of Hindu Undivided Family can be gifted only for pious purpose and not out of love and affection

K C Laxmana Vs K C Chandrappa Gowda

Supreme Court

19/04/2022

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2582 OF 2010

About/from the judgment:

The Supreme Court has held that a deed of gift with regard to the ancestral property of Hindu Undivided executed ‘out of love and affection’ does not come within the scope of the term ‘pious purpose’.

The Court said that a Hindu father or any other managing member of a Hindu Undivided Family has the power to make a gift of ancestral property only for a ‘pious purpose’ and what is understood by the term ‘pious purpose’ is a gift for charitable and/or religious purpose.

A deed of gift in regard to the ancestral property executed ‘out of love and affection’ does not come within the scope of the term ‘pious purpose’, the Court emphasised.

"It is irrelevant if such gift or settlement was made by a donor, i.e. the first defendant, in favour of a donee who was raised by the donor without any relationship, i.e. the second defendant," the two-judge bench held.

In this case, a son had moved court against his father who had transferred a share of the ancestral property to a person out of love and affection since the father had brought him up like his own child.

However, the son contended that no such transfer can take place especially without his consent.

When he moved trial court, the plea was dismissed.

However, the appellate court held that the transfer deed was void. The decision of the appellate court was upheld by the Karnataka High Court.

The person who got a share of the property then moved Supreme Court in appeal.

The apex court held that the alienation of the joint family property in favour of the second defendant was voidable at the instance of the plaintiff whose consent had not been obtained as a coparcener before the said alienation.

Further, the bench noted that a Hindu father or any other managing member of a HUF has power to make a gift of ancestral property only for a ‘pious purpose’.

The top court noted that Karta/Manager of a joint family property may alienate joint family property only in the three following situations:

(i) legal necessity (ii) for the benefit of the estate and (iii) with the consent of all the coparceners of the family.

However in this case, the alienation of the joint family property was not with the consent of all the coparceners.

"It is settled law that where an alienation is not made with the consent of all the coparceners, it is voidable at the instance of the coparceners whose consent has not been obtained," the Court ruled.

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