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Hindu Joint Family Even If Partitioned Can Revert Back And Reunite To Continue Joint Family Status: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
1 July 2021 9:49 AM GMT
Hindu Joint Family Even If Partitioned Can Revert Back And Reunite To Continue Joint Family Status: Supreme Court
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Hindu Joint Family even if partitioned can revert back and reunite to continue the status of joint family, the Supreme Court observed in a judgment delivered on Wednesday.The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy observed that the acts of the parties may lead to the inference that parties reunited after previous partition.In this case, a partition dated ...

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Hindu Joint Family even if partitioned can revert back and reunite to continue the status of joint family, the Supreme Court observed in a judgment delivered on Wednesday.

The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy observed that the acts of the parties may lead to the inference that parties reunited after previous partition.

In this case, a partition dated 07.11.1960 was entered between three brothers. The issue before the Apex Court in this appeal was whether a particular house property purchased in 1979, is a joint family property or not. The appellant's case was that the  partition dated 07.11.1960 was entered between three brothers to save the landed property from Land Ceiling Act and there was no intention of separating each branch and bringing the change in joint family status. It was contended that there was reunion between three brothers to revert to the status of Joint Hindu Family, which is amply proved from the acts and conducts of the parties subsequent to 07.11.1960.

Referring to the concept of reunion in Hindu Law explained in Mulla on Hindu Law, 22nd Edition, the court noted:

"341. Who may reunite,­ 'A reunion in estate properly so called, can only take place between persons who were parties to the original partition'. It would appear from this that a reunion can take place between any persons who were parties to the original partition. Only males can reunite.

342. Effect of reunion,­ The effect of a reunion is to remit the reunited members to their former status as members of a joint Hindu family.

343. Intention necessary to constitute reunion: To constitute a reunion, there must be an intention of the parties to reunite in estate and interest.

The bench referred to Palani Ammal Vs. Muthuvenkatacharla Moniagar and Ors., AIR 1925 PC 49 in which it was held that if a joint Hindu family separates, the family or any members of it may agree to reunite as a joint Hindu family, but such a reuniting is for obvious reasons, which would apply in many cases under the law of the Mitakshara, of very rare occurrence, and when it happens it must be strictly proved as any other disputed fact is proved. The court also noted that in Mukku Venkataramayya Vs. Mukku Tatayya and Ors., AIR 1943 Mad. 538, it was observed that, to establish reunion, it is necessary to show not only that the parties already divided, lived or traded together, but that they did so with the intention of thereby altering their status and of forming a joint estate with all its usual incidents. The court said that, in Bhagwan Dayal Vs. Reoti Devi, AIR 1962 SC 287, the Supreme Court approved this view.

"84. The above observations indicates that this Court also approved the Madras High Court judgment in Mukku Venkataramayya(supra). Again this Court in Anil Kumar Mitra and Ors. Vs. Ganendra Nath Mitra and Ors., (1997) 9 SCC 725 held that the acts of the parties may lead to the inference that parties reunited after previous partition."

Taking note of the facts in this case, the bench found that , in the year 1979 when residential property of Tatabad was obtained in the name of one brother, all three branches were part of the joint Hindu family and the house property purchased in the name of one member of joint Hindu family was for the benefit of all. The court also observed that an individual member of joint Hindu Family can very well file his separate Returns both under the Income Tax Act as well as Wealth Tax Act and filing of such Returns was not conclusive of status of the family.

Allowing the appeal, the bench held that all three branches have equal share in the Tatabad residential property.

Also from this judgment

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Case: R. Janakiammal vs. SK Kumarasamy (Deceased) [CA 1537 OF 2016]
Coram: Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy
Counsel: Sr. Adv V. Giri and Sr. Adv Gaurav Agrawal, Sr. Adv Kapil Sibal, Sr. Adv S. Nagamuthu
Citation: LL 2021 SC 280

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