Karta: Head of Hindu Family

Karta is the head of the Hindu Joint Family. The senior-most member of the family becomes the karta. There is a fiduciary relationship between the karta and other members of the family. The position of karta is unique. He works as a manager of the joint family. Karta takes care of the whole family and its property and the decisions which are taken by karta are binding on all the family members. No one is equal to Karta in Hindu Joint Family.

Who can become Karta?

Senior most male member

Generally, there is an assumption that the senior most male member of the family is karta. Karta is always chosen from the family and no outsider or stranger can become a karta. If the senior most male member of the family is alive then he/she continues to be karta, but after he/she dies the second senior most male member becomes the karta of the family.

Junior Male Member

A junior male member of the family can become the karta if all the coparceners agree.

Female Member

Generally, female members cannot become karta of the family. But if there are no male members in the family then in that situation female members can become the karta. 

Powers of Karta

The following are the powers of karta:

  • Power of Management

Since, karta is the head of the family, he has absolute management powers. He can manage the family affairs, property and business in whichever way he wants and no one can question his management.

  • Power to Represent the Joint Hindu Family

Karta is the head of the family. He represents the whole family in various legal, social etc. matters. He is the spokesperson of the family.

  • Right to income or remuneration and Expenditure

The income of the Hindu Joint Family property should be given to the karta. It is the responsibility of the karta to distribute these funds among the family members equally. He controls the expenditure of the funds.

  • Power to refer a dispute to Arbitration

Karta has the power to refer the disputes relating to management, family property to arbitration. The award given by the arbitration will be binding on all the family members.

  • Power of Alienation

Karta has the power to alienate the family property and no other family member has this power. He can alienate the property only under the following conditions:

  • Legal Necessity

It basically means things done which are necessary for the members of the family.

  • Benefit of the estate

It means everything done for the benefit of the joint hindu family property.

  • Indispensable duties

It refers to the performance of acts which are religious, pious or charitable. For eg. marriage, grihapravesham etc. He also has the power to alienate a small portion of the property for charitable purposes.

Liabilities of a Karta

  • Maintenance

Karta has to maintain all the family members. If he does not maintain the members, then he can be sued for maintenance and he can also be asked for compensation.

  • Recover Debts due to the Family

Karta has the liability to recover the debts due to the family within a reasonable period of time.

  • Spend reasonably

Karta controls the income and expenditures of the family. It is the responsibility of the karta to spend family funds reasonably and for the betterment of the family.


Senior most male member of the family is known as karta. Karta holds a unique position and no can be compared with him. The decisions taken by the karta are binding on all the other family members. A female member of the family can also become the karta provided that there are no male members in the family or there are male members in the family but they are minors. Many powers are provided to karta like he can enter into contract and take loans on behalf of the family. If he misuses the power then all the other members can go to the court and the court will provide remedy to them depending upon the circumstances of the case.

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