SC: Hindu Undivided Family assets to be taken as joint property

Team SoOLEGAL 14 Sep 2017 12:28pm

SC: Hindu Undivided Family assets to be taken as joint property

The Supreme Court has held that all assets in a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) would be presumed to be joint property belonging to all its members and a family member has to produce evidence to stake claim over any part even if it is 'self-acquired'.

A bench of Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre and R K Agrawal said the burden is always on a family member, claiming ownership over a part of property of the joint family, to prove before a court that it is his self-acquired property and not joint property of the family by placing oral or documentary evidence.

"It is a settled principle of Hindu law that there lies a legal presumption that every Hindu family is joint in food, worship and estate and in the absence of any proof of division, such legal presumption continues to operate in the family. The burden lies upon the member who, after admitting the existence of jointness in the family properties, asserts his claim that some properties out of an entire lot of ancestral properties are self-acquired," the bench said.

The court passed the order while rejecting a plea to members of a joint family claiming ownership over an agricultural land of the family on the ground that they had acquired the property and other members of their family had no right over it. The bench upheld the Karnataka high court order which had declared the property as joint property of the family.

The bench said the petitioners failed to place before it any evidence to prove that they had acquired the property for themselves and did not belong to the entire joint family. "In order to prove that the suit properties were their self-acquired properties, the plaintiffs could have adduced the best evidence in the form of a sale-deed showing their names as purchasers of the said properties and also could have adduced evidence of payment of sale consideration made by them to the vendee. It was, however, not done," it said.

"Not only that, they also failed to adduce any other kind of documentary evidence to prove their self-acquisition of properties nor they were able to prove the source of its acquisition," the bench noted.

The bench said it was obligatory upon the contesting family members to prove that despite the existence of jointness in the family, properties were not part of ancestral properties but were their self-acquired properties and the petitioners failed to prove their claim.

"In our considered opinion, the legal presumption of the suit properties to be also the part and parcel of the ancestral one could easily be drawn for want of any evidence of such properties being self-acquired properties of the plaintiffs," it said.

Source: TImesOfIndia

Tagged: Supreme Court   Hindu Undivided Family   HUF   justice R K Agrawal  
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