Mere Ispe Dixit Statement In The Plaint About Existence Of An Hindu Undivided Family Is Not A Sufficient Compliance Of Legal Requirements Of Creation Or Existence Of Hindu Undivided Family Properties: Delhi High Court

  • Shruti Kakkar
  • 12:17 PM, 17 Feb 2021

The Delhi High Court while relying on the judgement of the Coordinate Bench of this Court in Promod Kumar Jain & Ors. vs. Ram Kali Jain & Ors. MANU/DE/1115/2020, has recently observed that a mere ipse dixit statement in the plaint that a HUF exists and the properties are part of the HUF is not sufficient compliance of the legal requirements of creation or existence of HUF properties.

Under Order 6 Rule 4 CPC, there is a legal requirement to provide all necessary factual details of the cause of action to be stated clearly. Once claimed that the property was thrown into a common hotch-potch, it is necessary that the exact details of the specific date, month, year, etc. of creation of the HUF for the first time by throwing the property into a hotch-potch must be pleaded”, Single Bench of Justice Jayant Nath noted.

In the present matter, the plaintiff, a minor represented through his mother, filed a suit for a preliminary decree of a partition of the suit properties. It was pleaded in the plaint that the plaintiff's great grandfather acquired a property in Darya Ganj, which was said to be a HUF property. After the great grandfather's death, the estate fell in the hands of his son namely the plaintiff's grandfather and Sh Parvesh Kapur who became the owner of their shares to the extent of one half each and the estate was held as HUF by the plaintiff's grandfather. Further, it was also urged that the plaintiff's grandfather inherited the DaryaGanj property after 1956, which was thrown into a common hotchpotch.

The plaintiff contended that the plaintiff became owners of 1/8th share of the grandfather's properties since the property retained its ancestral character, and the plaintiffs were coparceners in such ancestral property. The plaintiff further relied on the exceptions to the property's proposition not being classified as HUF if he inherited a property from his paternal ancestors after 1956. They averred that since the HUF existed/continued before and after 1956, the property inherited by a HUF member after 1956 would be a HUF property in his hands. The second exception on which they relied upon was that if a man who owned a self-acquired property and threw the same into a common hotchpotch, then such property was thrown into a common hotchpotch became a joint family property and thereby resulted in the formation of a HUF.

With respect to the High Court's powers at the stage of framing of issues, the Bench observed that it was a well-settled position of law that CPC did not require deciding of all matters only after a trial or unless admissions were made.

In this light, the Court further observed that,

"Issues are to be framed on material propositions of law and facts which the plaintiff alleges to show a right to sue or the defendant must allege to constitute his defence. Where parties are found not in issue on any question of law or fact, Order 15 CPC requires the Court to at once pass a judgment. A boggy of a legal right should not be permitted to prevail. Where from a bare reading of the plaint or written statement, right to sue or defend is found to be improbable, pleadings are found to be vexatious and meritless not disclosing a right to sue or defend, the Court should exercise its powers and should not allow such matters to go to trial"

Reliance was also placed on the Supreme Court Judgement of Uttam vs. Saubhag Singh & Ors (2016) 4 SCC 68 in which it was observed that,

“18. The law, therefore, insofar as it applies to joint family property governed by the Mitakshara School, prior to the amendment of 2005, could therefore be summarised as follows:-

(i) When a male Hindu dies after the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, having at the time of his death an interest in Mitakshara coparcenary property, his interest in the property will devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenary (vide Section 6).

(ii) To proposition (i), an exception is contained in Section 30 Explanation of the Act, making it clear that notwithstanding anything contained in the Act, the interest of a male Hindu in Mitakshara coparcenary property is property that can be disposed of by him by will or other testamentary disposition.

(iii) A second exception engrafted on proposition (i) is contained in the proviso to Section 6, which states that if such a male Hindu had died leaving behind a female relative specified in Class I of the Schedule or a male relative specified in that class who claims through such female relative surviving him, then the interest of the deceased in the coparcenary property would devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, and not by survivorship.

(iv) In order to determine the share of the Hindu male coparcener who is governed by Section 6 proviso, a partition is effected by operation of law immediately before his death. In this partition, all the coparceners and the male Hindu's widow get a share in the joint family property.

(v) On the application of Section 8 of the Act, either by reason of the death of a male Hindu leaving self-acquired property or by the application of Section 6 proviso, such property would devolve only by intestacy and not survivorship.

(vi) On a conjoint reading of Sections 4, 8 and 19 of the Act, after joint family property has been distributed in accordance with Section 8 on principles of intestacy, the joint family property ceases to be joint family property in the hands of the various persons who have succeeded to it as they hold the property as tenants-in-common and not as joint tenants.”

Thus, the Bench while dismissing the plaint on the ground of failure of the plaintiff to show any meaningful cause of action and being completely devoid of merits on the face of it observed that even if it was assumed that the plaintiff’s great grandfather had a HUF property at DaryaGanj, even then section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act,1956 would have no application. This was because the first proviso to section 6 stated that devolution of interest would not be by survivorship but by intestate or testamentary succession if the deceased left behind a female relative as specified in Class I of the Schedule. The court further observed that the plaintiffs could not claim the same to be HUF property and claim any rights as what the plaintiff’s grandfather inherited from his father in 1984 terms of section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act,1956 was his self-acquired property.

What is visible from a perusal of the plaint is that vague and unsubstantiated pleas have been raised which lack material facts and particulars”, the Bench further observed.

Case Title: Master Ansh Kapoor & Anr. V. K.B. Kapur & Ors.

Law Point/Statute Involved: Section 6 and Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act,1956 and Order 6 Rule 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure,1908