Karta is the head of the Hindu Joint Family.He is also known as "The Manager".He occupies unique position in the management of the Joint Family.The Father or the senior most male member acts as "Karta".Even a junior most member can be Karta,if the other male members(Coparceners)agree to it.A minor male(coparcener) may also act as a Karta through his legal guardian till he becomes a major.
A Woman cannot be a coparcener and hence,she cannot become the Manager/Karta of the Hindu Joint Family.
The Karta,being the Head of the Joint family;act on behalf of the joint family.The position of the Karta is "Sui generis".Sui generis in the sense that his position is not that of the Manager of a Commercial Firm and his relationship with the other members is not that of the Principal and Agent or Firm and Partners.
However,the powers of Karta are not absolute or unlimited.Within the ambit of his sphere,he possesses such vast powers,which no one can possess.
Duties and Liabilities:
Karta,being the administrator of the joint family,has a number of duties and liabilities.
1.He is responsible to maintain all members of the joint family.If he fails to do so,any member can sue him for the maintenance and can also recover the arrears of the maintenance.
2.He is responsible to perform the marriages of all unmarried members,particularly,the Female members(Daughters).
3.He has to prepare the accounts if a suit is filed by a coparcener for partition.
4.He is bound to pay taxes and all other dues on behalf of the joint family.
5.Finally,he may be sued for failure to discharge the above duties and obligation.
Powers of Karta:
The powers of Karta are categorised under the following haeds:
1. Power of Alienation and
2. Other Powers.
1. Power of Alienation:
"Alienation" means "Transfer of Property from one person to another by way of a Sale,Gift,Lease,Mortgage etc..,"Karta can alienate the joint family property with the consent of the other coparceners.Even without the consent of the other coparceners,he can alienate under the following cases:
i) For the Purpose of Legal Necessity
ii) For the benefit of the Estate and
iii) For the perfomance of Indispensable Religious Duties.
2. Other Powers:
i) Power of Management
ii) Right to Income
iii) Right to Representation
iv) Power to Compromise
v) Power to refer the dispute to Arbitration
vi) Power to Acknowledgement
vii) Power to Contract Debts and
viii) Power to enter into Contracts.