What is HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) & What is HUF Property?

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Under the traditional Hindu Law whenever a male ancestor inherited any property from any of his paternal ancestors up to three degrees above him, then his male legal heirs up to three degrees below him had a right in that property equal to that of the person who inherited the same. Putting it in other words when a person “A” inherited property from his father or grandfather or great grandfather then the property in his hand was not to be treated as a self-acquired property but was to be treated as an HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) property in which his son, grandson and great-grandson had a right equal to “A”.

Passage of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956:

After passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, this position has undergone a change and if a person after 1956 inherits a property from his paternal ancestors, the said property is not an HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) property in his hands and the property is to be taken as a self-acquired property of the person who inherits the same.

Exceptions:

There are two exceptions to a property inherited by such a person being and remaining self-acquired in his hands, and which will be either an HUF and its properties was existing even prior to the passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and which Hindu Undivided Family continued even after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, and in which case since HUF existed and continued before and after 1956, the property inherited by a member of an HUF even after 1956 would be HUF property in his hands to which his paternal successors-in-interest upto the three degrees would have a right. The second exception to the property in the hands of a person being not self-acquired property but an HUF property is if after 1956 a person who owns a self-acquired property throws the self-acquired property into a common hotchpotch whereby such property or properties thrown into a common hotchpotch become Joint Hindu Family properties/HUF properties.

In order to claim the properties in this second exception position as being HUF/Joint Hindu Family properties/properties, a plaintiff has to establish to the satisfaction of the court that when (i.e date and year) was a particular property or properties thrown in common hotchpotch and hence HUF/Joint Hindu Family created.

Supreme Court of India on Hindu Undivided Family :

Supreme Court of India has held that after passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 the traditional view that on inheritance of an immovable property from paternal ancestors up to three degrees, automatically an HUF came into existence, no longer remained the legal position in view of Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. This view of the Supreme Court was reiterated in other judgments that after coming into force of Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, inheritance of ancestral property after 1956 does not create an HUF property and inheritance of ancestral property after 1956 therefore does not result in creation of an HUF property.supreme court of india

In view of the ratios of the judgments of the Supreme Court of India ancestral property can only become an HUF property if inheritance is before 1956, and such HUF property therefore which came into existence before 1956 continues as such even after 1956. In such a case, since an HUF already existed prior to 1956, thereafter, since the same HUF with its properties continues, the status of joint Hindu family/HUF properties continues, and only in such a case, members of such joint Hindu family are coparceners entitling them to a share in the HUF properties.

Also Read: Family Settlement in India

Can self acquired property be blended with Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) property?

Law relating to blending of separate property with joint family property is well settled.
Property separate or self acquired of a member of a joint Hindu family may be impressed with the character of joint family property if it is voluntarily thrown by the owner to the common stock with the intention of abandoning his separate claim therein;but to establish such abandonment a clear intention to waive separate rights must be established.

Conclusion:

Under the Hindu Law, the moment a son is born, he gets a share in father’s property and become part of the coparcenary. His right accrues to him not on the death of the father or inheritance from the father but with the very fact of his birth. Normally,therefore whenever the father gets a property from whatever source, from the grandfather or from any other source, be it separated property or not, his son should have a share in that and it will become part of the joint Hindu family of his son and grandson and other members who form joint Hindu family with him. However this position has been affected by Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and, therefore, after the Act, when the son inherited the property in the situation contemplated by Section 8, he does not take it as Karta of his own undivided family but takes it in his individual capacity.

To know more about HUF & HUF property, write to us at easykanoon@gmail.com.

About the author:
Gaurav Sharma is the founder of Easy Kanoon and is a legal consultant with more than
10 years of experience.

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