Balmukund vs Kamla Wati case gave a landmark judgment that dealt with the concept of alienation of the property by Karta.
FACTS OF BALMUKUND CASE:
- On October 1, 1943, Balmukund (plaintiff) purchased 23/120th share in the land belonging to one Devishai. He thus became the owner of 17/20th share in this land.
- The remaining 3/20th share belongs to the joint Hindu family of which Pindidas was the Manager and his brother, Haveliram Khemchand and Satyapal were the members. Plaintiff paid Rs. 175 per marla for the land which he purchased from Devisahai.
- In order to merge his holding, the plaintiff desired to gain the 3/20th share held by the joint family of Pindidas and his brothers. He, therefore, approached Pindidas in the matter and Pindidas agreed to sell the 3/20th share of belonging to the family at the rate of Rs. 250 per marla.
- The contract was entered on October 1, 1945, with Pindidas and Rs. 100 were paid to him as earnest money.
- As the manager of the family, Pindidas failed to execute the sale deed in the plaintiff’s favor. The plaintiff instituted the suit for specific performance and made Pindidas and his brother defendants thereto.
- The trial court and the High Court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim of specific relief. To this order, the plaintiff appealed to the high court.
Whether specific performance should be allowed in the present appeal?
The Brothers of Pindidas (the other 3 defendants) denied the existence of any contract and pleaded that even if Pindidas was proved to be the Karta of the joint family and had agreed to sell the land in suit, the transaction was not binding upon them because the sale was not for the benefit of the family nor was there any necessity for that sale.
- The Court was of the view that for a transaction to be one which is of benefit to the family, it need not be only of a defensive character, i.e. a transaction carried out to protect the estate from imminent danger or destruction.
- The Court observed where adult members exist; the judgment is to be not that of the manager of the family alone but that of all the adult members of the family, including the manager.
- It was observed that the manager did not ask for any suggestions on the transaction from the other adult brothers. They neither consulted them about it nor knew about the transaction.
Mudholkar, J., held that no part of the joint family property could be parted with or agreed to be parted with by the manager on the grounds of alleged benefit to the family when the transaction is opposed by the adult members of the family. And the suit for specific performance was accordingly dismissed.
In a Hindu joint family, Karta or the manager cannot alienate the joint Hindu property without the consent of another coparcener. But in the following cases manager doesn’t require the consent of other coparceners:
- legal necessity
- The benefit of the estate
- Acts of indispensable duty.
Here, no such necessity was seen, and the Court dismissed the plea of the appellant of specific performance, as the manager has no right to alienate without the consent of other coparceners.
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