Supreme Court Rules that Karta can Sell Ancestral Property on Account of Legal Necessity


August 21, 2018

In this case, taken up by Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court, the Court has ruled that Karta of the Family can sell share in ancestral property on account of legal necessity even without obtaining due consent of other coparceners. However, the evidence of legal necessity shall be appropriately showcased in such cases.


Case name: Kehar Singh (D) Thr. L.Rs. & Ors. v. Nachittar Kaur & Ors.

Date of Judgment: August 20, 2018

Coparcener has no right to challenge sale made by Karta

In the case, the cause of action pertained to sale of suit property by the Karta of the family to the defendant purchasers of the property.

Hence, the dispute in the case was between the son, father and the purchasers of the suit land from father. The father had sold the suit property to the defendant purchasers. Subsequently, the appellant alleged that the suit land was an ancestral property of the family of which the appellant was a member. The appellant also alleged that he had share in the property alongwith his father as one of the coparceners and hence his father had no right to sell the suit land without obtaining the plaintiff’s consent.

Bench’s Verdict

The Supreme Court in the case dismissed the appeal while making the following observations in the case:

  • Through the material available on record, the Court noted that firstly, the family owed two debts and secondly the family also needed money to make improvement in agricultural land belonging to the family.
  • The Court noted that Pritam Singh, being a Karta of the family, had every right to sell the suit land belonging to family to discharge the debt liability and spend some money to make improvement in agriculture land for the maintenance of the family. 
  • In view of legal necessity for sale of ancestral property by the Karta, the Supreme Court validated the sale of suit property in the case by Defendant no.1 i.e. the Appellant’s father.
  • While arriving at its decision, the Supreme Court also made reference to the test laid down in Hindu Law as explained by Mulla in Article 254(2) read with Article 241 (a) and (g) e. once the factum of legal necessity stood proved, then no coparcener has a right to challenge the sale made by the Karta of his family. 

The entire case can be accessed here.