A recent landmark judgment by Delhi High Court held that the eldest woman of a Hindu Undivided Family can be its ‘Karta’, a term which denotes the managership of an HUF. The issue to be decided by the Court was whether the plaintiff, Mrs. Sujata Sharma, who was the first born amongst the co-parceners of a Hindu Undivided Family property, would by virtue of her birth, be entitled to be its Karta. The parties to the suit before the Court were co-parceners of D.R. Gupta & Sons, HUF. The Court gave due consideration to the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, pursuant to which all rights which were available to a Hindu male are now also available to a Hindu female. A daughter is now recognized as a co-parcener by birth in her own right and has the same rights in the co-parcenary property that are given to a son.
Allowing the petition filed by Mrs. Sharma, Justice Waziri observed, “Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act is a socially beneficial legislation; it gives equal rights of inheritance to Hindu males and females. Its objective is to recognize the rights of female Hindus as co-parceners and to enhance their right to equality apropos succession. Therefore, Courts would be extremely vigilant and apt in any endeavor to curtail or fetter the statutory guarantee of enhancement of their rights. Now that this disqualification has been removed by the 2005 Amendment, there is no reason why Hindu women should be denied the position of a Karta.