What is the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)?
Category : Family Law – I
Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) concept is based on traditions and customs. An HUF consists of all persons who are lineally descended from a common ancestor, including their wives and daughters. Sons-in-law and daughters-in-law are not part of the HUF, even though they are members of the ‘joint family’. This is the difference between an HUF and a ‘joint family’.
The concept of HUF comes under the Hindu Succession Act and it applies to all Hindu families. The concept even applies to Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs, and to any person in India who is not Christian, Muslim,Parsi or Jew by religion. The members of Scheduled Tribes are exempted from the law.
“Hindu undivided family” is purely a creature of law and cannot be created by an act of parties (except in case of adoption and reunion). A “Hindu undivided family” is a fluctuating body, its size increases with birth of a male member in the family and decreases on death of a member of the family. Females go and come into Hindu undivided family” on marriage. In case of a sole male Hindu, strictly speaking, a Hindu undivided family” comes to existence automatically upon his marriage. It has been held in Gowli Buddanna v/s. CIT that to constitute a joint Hindu family, it is not necessary that there has to be more than one coparcener in the family; a husband and wife can validly constitute a “Hindu undivided family”.
Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) is a legal entity that enters into legal contracts, and fulfils its legal obligations through a single person, known as a “Karta” (literally translated as “the doer”). In the eyes of the law a HUF is like a collective or cooperative organization comprised of immediate family members that can enter into and fulfill legal obligations as a single entity through its Karta.
You don’t need to be living in the same house to be identified as a HUF.
Hindu joint family is a joint family that identifies itself as Hindu.
Joint family is a social arrangement where many generations of a family live under one roof.
A joint family may or may not be recognized as a HUF.