Monday, October 2, 2017

Assets of Hindu Undivided Family is considered as Joint property

The Supreme Court in a recent ruling clarified that all the assets in Hindu Undivided Family are considered to be joint property and it belongs to all the members of the joint family. If any family member wants to claim it as self-acquired property then they are required to furnish requisite proof for the same.
The apex court passed this order when a plea was made by members of a joint family as they were claiming ownership of agricultural land of the family on the ground that they have acquired the property and others have no rights over them.
Considering the case, the bench comprising of Justice R K Agrawal and Akshay Manmohan Sapre explained that in such matters the burden of proof is always on the family member who is claiming ownership over a part of the property of the joint family. To claim his ownership he must put reliance over relevant oral or documentary evidence.
The bench observed, “It is a settled principle of Hindu law that there lies a legal presumption that every Hindu family is joint in food, worship, and estate and in the absence of any proof of division, such legal presumption continues to operate in the family. The burden lies upon the member who, after admitting the existence of jointness in the family properties, asserts his claim that some properties out of an entire lot of ancestral properties are self- acquired.”
While passing this order the bench upheld the Karnataka High Court order which had declared the property as the joint property of the family.
The court held that in the instant matter, the petitioners have failed to place reliance over any evidence to prove that they had acquired the property for themselves and did not belong to the entire joint family. If the claimants want to prove that the suit properties were their self-acquired properties they have to produce the best evidence either in form of sale deed showing their names as purchasers of the said properties or any other proof to establish their claim over the same.
The bench also mentioned that it is obligatory for the family members who are contesting over the joint property to prove that it was not the part of the ancestral property. In the present case, the petitioners have failed to prove their claims that is the part of their self-acquired property.

The court said, “In our considered opinion, the legal presumption of the suit properties to be also the part and parcel of the ancestral one could easily be drawn for want of any evidence of such properties being self-acquired properties of the plaintiffs.”
The Author Mr.K.P.Satish Kumar M.L. is the leading civil Advocate in Chennai
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