All you need to know about Hindu Law & Property – Joint Hindu Family/Coparcenory/Ancestral & Self Acquired property.

This article explains and answers the following questions :-

i) What is a Joint Hindu Family/Hindu Undivided Family as per the law ?

ii) The Joint Hindu Family Property ? who all have a right ?

iii) What is a Coparcenary ? and who all are Coparceners ? 

iv) What do we mean by daughters being coparceners as well ? 

v) The rights and obligations of coparceners ? Can a coparcenor sell/gift his interest in ancestral properties ?

vi) Who can seek a partition ?

vii) What is the difference between self acquired & ancestral properties ?

vi) Who is a karta ? What are his rights & obligations ?


Concept of Joint Hindu Family or Hindu Undivided Family (HUF – A Tax term) 

A Joint Hindu Family is the normal condition of Hindu Society, or atleast it was until the last few decades. A joint Hindu family is a group of relatives tied together by ties of kinship & marriage and descended from a common ancestor. It includes children, children’s children down the line, spouses.  A joint Hindu Family is normally joint in worship/kitchen/business. Even daughter in laws/widowed daughters who has returned back to their parental side are part of a hindu joint family. A joint family may encompass countless generations. 

A joint family is headed by a karta who is normally the eldest living male member of the family. Karta has some peculiar rights and obligations under traditional Hindu Law, he has the power and duty of superintendence of how the joint family is run, who is getting what ?, how the members are being maintained ? He is also entitled to dispose off the property in times of dire need/necessity.   After 2005 amendments by which women have been given equal proprietary rights in ancestral property even women can be Kartas.

A Coparcenory 

Within the joint family there is a narrower body called the Coparcenory. This includes the eldest male member + 3 generations. For eg : Son – Father – Grandfather – Great Grandfather. This special group of people are called coparcenors and have a definitive right in ancestral property right since the moment of their conception. Earlier only a Son/Son’s son/Son’s son’s son were coparcenors – now daughters are equally coparcenors after 2005. They can get their share culled out by filing a suit for partition at any time.   A coparcenor’s interest is not fixed it fluctuates by birth and deaths in the family.

Ancestral & Self Acquired properties.

A property is ancestral when acquired through inheritance from ancestors, this property is always shared by members of a coparcenary equally. On the other hand property is self acquired if it is earned by own efforts/learning or other human endeavour. In the latter – the person acquiring is the sole owner and nobody exercises any right  on the same during his lifetime.



Any coparcenor can at anytime seek a partition of his share. The continuing coparcenors can seek to buy out the share of coparcenor expressing his intention to move out by exercising the right of ‘pre-emption’.

Can a Coparcenor sell/gift/dispose off his right in ancestral/coparcenory property ?

Yes – a coparcenor can sell/gift away his interest to another coparcenor or even a third party. However a third parties right to take possession of property alongwith rest of coparcenory is limited. The family can buy the third party out in order to maintain integrity of the house and to prevent a stranger from getting in with the family. This right is given by Transfer of Property Act as well as the Partition Act.

Can a Karta dispose of coparcenory property without consent of the family/coparcenory ?

Yes in cases of legal necessity/benefit of estate the karta can alienate joint family property. However such an alienation can be challenged by the continuing coparcenors as not being for legal necessity or benefit of estate within 12 years of knowledge of sale/gift.

* Author is a Supreme Court advocate specialising in Property Laws and Joint Family affairs, with special regard to Joint Family Property & Partition Cases.

* Author can be reached at : – 9810553252. 

24 thoughts on “All you need to know about Hindu Law & Property – Joint Hindu Family/Coparcenory/Ancestral & Self Acquired property.

  1. MOST URGENT: an a person sale his property without intimating to his wife and adult children. If a father sold property without intimating to his wife and children, what are the precautions available to wife and children as member of H.U.F. and for cancellation of sale or stay petition.

    • Depends on a lot of factors
      1) Father can at best would have sold his Undivided Coparcenory Interest;
      2) If he was the Karta – and has purported to sell the entire property – the other coparcenors (note wife is not a coparcenor – children are !) can challenge the alienation;
      3) Make sure property is HUF property;
      4) Period of Limitation for challenging is 12 years.

      • Sir,

        If their are five brother and four out of the five brothers sale a part of the property without intimating the fifth. How far is the sale correct and what are the remedies avaliable for the fifth brother?

  2. Most Urgent:Respected sir,,MY Father is selling of huf lands without knowing me and giving all money to my elder Brother,and telling us that he will write all the land into his brother is telling me that if i want the land then i will have to pay for it.sir I m already 48 yrs passed and having asthama,although my brother torcheses and beats me.Sir i have passed my full life in compromising to run our joint family but the day is came when i will have to stya on the road.How can i stop to sell and how will i get my land back.please help me.

  3. hello ! i wish to know that we live in uttrakhand my father had a property in delhi he was a well learned qualified man we are 5 sister n my self alone son of so called legal haier with my mother also alive, recently i came to know that my fathers registered will is missing in with he had mentioned all his desires instead what surprising came was a will which was also not sighned but a thumb impression stating his mental fitness physicllay handicaped dear sir kindly advise me how to proceed as my sisters want there legal right in all the property.

  4. Hi Bharath,
    My father was living in Hindu Joint Family. My Grand father had no property, even a small house. they were living in a rented house. My father purchased a land and built a house. Then the whole family stared living there. All the land documents(original) are in my fathers name. my father died some years ago, when He died, my relatives tried to acuire property, they even included thier name ( my uncle) in local mucipal as their right.

    My questions is; are all of my relatives have the share in that prpperty?
    or we only my mother and 3 children have the right on property?

  5. URGENT:SIR My grandfather had an HUF ancestral property which he sold with the consent of his only son.Now the cash though received is invested in other property which was purchased after 2005.will the property will have the rights of the daughters too(i.e my fathers sisters)?Because I have heard the property so purchased before the amendment of 2005 law will directly go to the only son.

  6. **** Urgent **** My grandfather did not make a will and is now deceased. There are 3 brothers and the eldest is not willing to get anything in writing about the grandfather’s property. Does this property go to the eldest by default as even grandmother is no more. What are the rights of the remaining 2 brothers. Can the remaining 2 brothers request sale of the land? Please advise.

  7. **** Urgent **** My grandfather did not make a will and is now deceased. There are 3 brothers and the eldest is not willing to get anything in writing about the grandfather’s property. Does this property go to the eldest by default as even grandmother is no more. What are the rights of the remaining 2 brothers. Can the remaining 2 brothers request sale of the land? Please advise.

  8. We are three brothers , Elder son is not able to look after his parents regularly as he lives out of city for job , Younger son is not able to see because his earning is limited as well as his wife is not ready to take care her in laws .
    Middle son looks after parents , he wants to acquire the major portion of property and bank balance of parents .
    in this case ,my question , are the two sons have right to get the property of their family equally?

  9. I have housing property with my mother jointly without mentioning area separately. Can she
    able to dispose a part of the housing property with out consent of other legal owner of the property ?

    • If the property is a residential proeprty and the property has been sold in part, you can file a suit for pre-emption and buy the third person’s share in the property. He cannot claim joint possession in the property; he can only claim

    • Only a Karta of a joint family property can sell the property without consent of other members, that too only in certain exceptional circumstances of compelling necessity. At best, the member can sell only his share and not the whole property

  10. I sheela, daughter of my father died in 1986 and my mother died in 2008, My father has one son and 5 dauhters.
    the said property is name of my father, My Father got the property by partition of grandfather’s property between their one brother and him(my father) in 1964.
    my date of birth is 12 march 1978.
    my brother also died in 2013, i want my share in my father’s property.
    how much share will i get from this property, After HSA 2005 Amendment act. From my Brothers side, they said I will get only 1/12 share from this this true?
    Please let me know how they are saying this much share of me and please calculate the shares between brothers and sisters.

  11. Hi,

    Ours is a Hindu family. My grandfather use to run a business. He purchased some properties out of the money earned from business (his own income). He died in 1959. He has three sons (say A, B and C) who are all married. Till 1963 the three sons lived as joint family.

    In 1963 the three brothers made partition of their father’s property. At this time all three sons also have sons (say A1 to A , B1 to B, C1 to C). The property was divided equally between A, B and C. However in the partition deed the grandsons names were also included. A and his minor son A1 jointly got few houses. B and his minor son B1 jointly got few houses. And C and his minor son C1 jointly got few houses.

    Can you please clarify the following:
    1. Is the relation between C and C1 is a joint hindu family?

    2. As far as the grandson C1 is concerned what is the nature of the property which C and C1 received on partition? Is this ancestral property?

    3.Can the grandson C1 file a suit on his father C for partition in the property which C and C1 received?

    4. C has one more son C2 who is born in 1970. Does C2 has any right on the property received by C and C1? Can he file a partition suit?

    Thanks in Advance.


    • 1. C and C1 form a coparcenory within a larger Joint family. It means they have an undivided interest within their share. 2. Vis-a-vis each other, the property is ancestral. If for eg C2 is born to C1, then he would have a birthright, from the moment he is born. 3. Yes, such a suit can be filed. 4. C2 will have the right and can sue for partition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s