Makhan Singh v. Kulwant Singh (2007) 10 SCC 602

Court: Supreme Court

Date of Judgement: 30 March 2007

Case No.: Appeal (civil) 4446 of 2005

BENCH: B.P. Singh & Harjit Singh Bedi

No. of judges: 2

Acts: Sec 8 of Hindu Succession Act. 1956

Facts of the case:

  • The plaintiff (respondent) Kulwant Singh and defendant (appellant) Makhan Singh were two of four brothers.
  • Each brother owned a certain share in land and in a building housing and ice factory alongwith machinery installed therein.
  • On 3.5.1982, the defendant entered into two agreements with the plaintiff, – one for the sale of his share in the land and the building on it for a consideration of Rs.10,000 and a second pertaining to the sale of his share in the machinery installed in the ice factory for a consideration of Rs.16,000. As per the terms of the agreements, the sale deeds were to be executed on or before 10.8.1982.
  • Here, the issue of Joint family property has aroused as regard to the sale of the property.

Court answers the issue of:

Responsibility of proving the existence of Joint Hindu Family & nucleus of Joint Family Income with which the property was purchased.

What court observed:

“As observed in K.V.Narayanaswami Iyer Vs. K.V. Ramakrishna Iyer & Ors. (1964) 7 SCR 490 as there was no presumption in law that a property purchased in the name of a member of a family had ipso-facto the character of Joint Hindu Family property unless it could be shown that the family possessed a nucleus for the purchase of the same.”

“in the light of the judgment of this Court in Commissioner of Wealth Tax, Kanpur & Ors. vs. Chander Sen & Ors. (1986) 3 SCC 567 in which it has been held that there could be no presumption that if the property purchased by a father fell to his son by inheritance it was deemed to be in his position as a Karta of a Hindu Undivided Family.”

“The High Court has also rightly observed that there was no presumption that the property owned by the members of the Joint Hindu Family could a fortiori be deemed to be of the same character and to prove such a status it had to be established by the propounder that a nucleus of Joint Hindu Family income was available and that the said property had been purchased from the said nucleus and that the burden to prove such a situation lay on the party, who so asserted it. The ratio of K.V. Narayanaswami Iyer case (supra ) is thus clearly applicable to the facts of the case.”

“In this connection, reference must be made to Chander Sen’s case (supra ) wherein it has been held that a son who inherits his father’s assets under Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act does so in his individual capacity and not as a Karta of the Hindu Undivided Family. It is the admitted case before us that the 11 marlas had been purchased by Dula Singh from his income as an employee of the Railways and it was therefore his self- acquired property. Such a property falling to his sons by succession could not be said to be the property of the Joint Hindu Family.”

Aishwarya Agrawal is a 2nd Year Student of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur