HUF – Manager has a distinct role from Karta

While there can be no doubt that a Hindu Widow is not a coparcener in the HUF of her husband and, therefore, cannot act as a karta of the HUF after the death of her husband, the two expressions i.e. karta and manager may be understood to be not synonymous and the expression “manager” may be understood as denoting a role distinct from that of karta. Hypothetically, we may not take the case of HUF where the male adult coparcener has died and there is no male coparcener surviving or where the sole male coparcener is a minor. In such a situation obviously the HUF does not come to an end. The mother of the male coparcener can act as the legal guardian of the minor and also look after his role as the karta in her capacity as his legal guardian. Such a situation has been found to be consistent with the law by the Calcutta High Court in Sushila Devi Rampuria v. ITO, (1960) 38 ITR 316 rendered in the context of the provisions of the Income Tax Act and while determining the liability of such an HUF to assessment under the Act.
A similar proposition of law is also to be found in Dhujram v. Chandansingh, 1974 MPLJ 554 though, again, in a littled different context. The High court had expressed the view that the word “manager” would be consistent with the law if understood with reference to the mother as the natural guardian and not as the karta of the HUF. Shreya Vidyarthi v. Ashok Vidyarthi, (2015) 16 SCC 46.

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