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Monday, 18 August 2014


1. Family consisting of female Members

(i) Whether a joint Hindu family can comprise of females only

A joint Hindu family continues to exist even through at a particular time there may be no male coparcener provided of course there is a “potential mother” in the family, that is to say, the window of a deceased coparcener, who is capable of bringing in a male member by way of adoption.

It was held by Allahabad High court in CIT v. Sarwan kumar [1945] 13 ITR 361 (ALL.) that there can be HUF consisting of female members only. They held that females are and can be component parts of an undivided Hindu family. The court Observed “that being so, there can be in our judgement, an undivided Hindu family consisting of females only.

The coparcenary, no doubt comes to an end with the disappearance of the last male member, but as already pointed out, the existence of coparcenery is not essential for the existence of a joint Hindu family”

Similarly, in the case of Savitri Devi v.CIT [1976] 104 ITR 385 (Pat.) it was held that the window and her unmarried daughter constituted a HUF even when the window had not adopted a son.

(whether two females of a family can, by agreement constitute a joint Hindu family in regard to their individual properties

Where the members HUF, being females, inherit something individually, they cannot constitute a HUF by agreement by pooling up their inherited property. In this context, a reference could also be made to the decision of the Supreme court in the case of Puspa Devi vs. CIT 1977 CTR (SC) 348 (1977) 109 ITR 730 (SC): TC 37R. 168,

Where the supreme court has held that it was a fundamental notion governing a joint Hindu family that a female member of the joint family cannot blend her separate property, even if she is the absolute owner there of, with the joint family property. This judgement covered a case where there was already a joint family in existence and held that, even so, a female cannot blend her absolute property there with other females a HUF and blends the property of her absolute ownership therewith.
However, where there is already an HUF and its members get reduced only to females, say by death of male members, it would continue to be assessed as a joint Hindu family as long as there are two females, as decided in the cases referred to earlier.

2. Smaller HUF

Where the assessee, having wife but no child, got certain property on partition of his bigger HUF, it was held that the assessee’s claim for HUF status was valid and had to be accepted despite the fact that the assessee did not have a son-CIT v. Krishna Kumar [1982] 10 Taxman 292(MP).

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