Until a recent decision by a high court in New Delhi, only a male could be his family’s “Karta” (head) —a status conferring many legal privileges. The Karta, The Times of India explains, “occupies a position superior to that of other members and has full authority to manage property, rituals or other crucial affairs of the family. These include taking decisions on sale and purchase of family assets, mutation of property etc.”

The change was triggered by a lawsuit brought by a woman who wanted to manage her family’s property after the death of her father and three uncles (who jointly owned the family’s assets). When a male cousin, son of the youngest brother, laid claim to the title of Karta, she sued, because she was the daughter of the oldest brother and therefore the senior family member. The Times reports the court’s historic ruling: “If a male member of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), by virtue of his being the first-born eldest, can be a Karta, so can a female member.”  A welcome decision.

Read More at The Times of India.

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