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FAMILY LAW – 2



HINDU JOINT FAMILY SYSTEM



MITAKSHARA JOINT FAMILY

The Mitakshara joint family is a unique contribution of Hindu jurisprudence which has no

parallel in any ancient or modern system of law. It has been a fundamental aspect of the

life of Hindus. It is an integral part and the most characteristic way of Hindu life. For a

Hindu, there is no escape from the joint family. May be in one generation it comes into

existence automatically, and there is no way in which one can escape from it. This is why

it is said that Hindu Law, there is a presumption that every family is a joint Hindu Family.

A Hindu Joint Family consists of a common ancestor and all his lineal male descendants

up to any generation together with the wife or wives and unmarried daughters of the

common ancestor and of male descendants. The Common ancestor is necessary for

bringing a joint family into existence; for its continuance common ancestor is not a

necessity. The death of the common ancestor does not mean that the joint family comes to

an end. Upper links are removed and lower are added and so long as the line does bot

become extinct, the joint family continues and can continue indefinitely almost till

perpetuity.

A remarkable feature of Hindu Law is that even an illegitimate son is a member of his

father’s joint family. Sometimes even widowed daughters may return to their fathers family

and may lay claim on the bounty of the joint family. The ancient Hindu law recognized

their right of maintenance.

A Hindu joint family is not a corporation. A Hindu joint family has no legal entity distinct

and separate from that of the members who constitute it. It is not a juristic person either,

same was held in Chotelal v Jhandelal (AIR 1972 ALL 424). A Hindu Joint family is a

unit and in all matters it is represented by a Karta. Within its fold no outsider, except by

adoption, can be admitted by agreement or otherwise. It confers a status on its members

which can be acquired only by birth in the family or by marriage to a male member. A

Hindu joint Family is also different from a composite family. Composite family was

unknown to Hindu Law. The institution of composite family is a creature of custom and

owes its constitution to an agreement. Where two or more families agree to live and work

together, pool their resources, throw their gains and labour into the joint stock and shoulder

the common risk, there comes into existence a composite family.

A single male or female member cannot make a HJF, even if the assets are purely ancestral.

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