Nopany Investments Pvt Ltd vs Santokh Singh Case Summary 2008 SC

Nopany Investments Pvt Ltd vs Santokh Singh Case Summary 2008 SC

Nopany Investments Pvt Ltd vs Santokh Singh case dealt with interpreting the legal status of ‘Karta’ of Hindu Undivided Family.

FACTS:

  • On the 16th of July, 1980, the appellant entered into a four-year lease with Dr. Santokh Singh (HUF) for the property of the suit premises, at a monthly rate of Rs. 3500. As a result, when the four-year period came to an end, a notice of eviction was issued, and Jasraj Singh, claiming to be the Karta of Dr. Santokh Singh HUF, filed an Eviction petition with the Additional Rent Controller.
  • The appellant was ordered by the Additional Rent Controller to pay rent in the amount of Rs. 3500/-.Following the enactment of Section 6A of the Delhi Rent Control Act, Jasraj Singh, in the aforementioned position, wrote the appellant a notice dated January 9, 1992, requesting a ten percent increase in rent and the termination of the appellant’s lease.
  • After that, Jasraj Singh served the appellant a notice dated September 3, 1992, requesting that the appellant remove the suit property, which the appellant refused to do. Dr. Santokh Singh HUF, through Jasraj Singh, claiming to be the HUF’s Karta, filed a suit on February 6, 1993, demanding eviction of the appellant from the suit premises.

ISSUES:

  • Is it possible for Jasraj Singh, in his role as the Karta of Dr. Santokh Singh HUF, to bring an eviction suit when an elder member of the HUF is still alive?
  • Can a junior member/coparcener act as Karta if the senior member/coparcener has relinquished his right expressly or impliedly or in absence of the Karta under exceptional circumstances?

CONTENTIONS:

  • Plaintiff’s contention

The appellant had questioned the legality of the suit brought by Jasraj Singh, who claimed to be the Karta of the Hindu Undivided Family of Santokh Singh. The appellant stated it is a well-established legal principle that a junior member of a joint family cannot deal with joint family property, as Karta, without the senior brother, is present.

  • Defendant’s contention

When an elder member of the Hindu Undivided Family is admittedly living, the respondent Jasraj Singh, who is obviously a junior member of the family, could not have filed the eviction suit, claiming to be the Karta of the family.

RATIO DECIDENDI:

  • Bench: Tarun Chatterjee, P. Sathasivam
  • “The Karta, or manager, is a unique role in a Hindu family. It’s not like anybody could become the Manager of a Hindu joint family. A family’s father, if alive, and the senior member of the family, if he is not, has sole authority over the joint family property.” [Sunil Kumar v. Ram Prakash, 2 SCC 77 (1988)].
  • In the following scenarios, a younger member of the Joint Hindu Family can deal with the joint family property and function as a manager: –
    • If the senior member of the Karta is unavailable; when the Karta expressly or by necessary implication relinquishes his right;
    •  in the manager’s absence in exceptional and extraordinary circumstances such as distress or calamity affecting the entire family and for the support of the family;
    • in the father’s absence: –
    • A person whose whereabouts are unknown, or
    • Who was stranded in a faraway location owing to unforeseen circumstances, and whose return was unlikely or unforeseeable?

DECISION:

  • Jasraj Singh successfully stated that his eldest brother (said to be Karta of the Hindu Undivided Family) had spent a significant amount of time in the United Kingdom. Because of his departure from the nation, he could not carry out his obligations as Karta of the Hindu Undivided Family.
  • The filing of the complaint by Jasraj Singh, claiming to be the Karta of the Hindu Undivided Family, received no opposition from any member of the Hindu Joint Family. The elder brother has signed a power of attorney in Jasraj Singh’s favor.

CONCLUSION:

In view of the principles laid down above and surrounding facts and circumstances, it would not be open to the tenant to raise the question of the maintainability of the suit at the instance of Jasraj Singh, claiming himself to be the Karta of the Hindu Undivided Family.

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Ankit Kumar

Ankit Kumar

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