Burden to prove that the property is a joint property of the HUF lies on the person who claims that: SC - Synopsis
Abhishek Rathee 6 Apr 2020

The Supreme Court, in the matter of  Bhagwat Sharan v. Purushottam & Ors. observed that the burden is on the individual who claims that the property is a joint property of the HUF (Hindu undivided family) to prove the same.

It is important to prove not only the common nature of the property, but also the burden lies on the person claiming the presence of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) to prove that the property belongs to the HUF, unless there is evidence on record that the property is the nucleus of the HUF or that it has been acquired by means of funds coming from that nucleus, the bench comprising of justices L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta observed

Referring to the appellant, the court acknowledged that there was no claim in law that the family constituted a HUF. And there is no accusation that this family had any kind of property as its nucleus. The bench referred to the judgment of the Privy Council in Appalaswami v. Suryanarayanamurti and early Supreme Court judgments in Shrinivas Krishnarao Kango v. Narayan Devji Kango and D.S. Lakshmaiah and Ors. v. L. Balasubramanyam and Ors. It applied to the findings made in D.S. Lakshmaiah: "The legal principle, therefore, is that there is no presumption of a property being joint family property only on account of existence of a joint Hindu family. The one who asserts has to prove that the property is a joint family property. If, however, the person so asserting proves that there was nucleus with which the joint family property could be acquired, there would be presumption of the property being joint and the onus would shift on the person who claims it to be self-acquired property to prove that he purchased the property with his own funds and not out of joint family nucleus that was available"

Referring to the facts on the record, the bench said that there was no information on the record to prove that the property belonged to the HUF. They may have been common properties but, simply on the basis of the recitals in the mortgage deed, it cannot be assumed to be a joint family property, he added.

The Court also observed that, simply because the business is joint does not increase the inference that there is a joint Hindu family.

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