Selling ancestral property legally

Many disputes arise when someone is selling a property; issues come up when it’s ancestral property where a lot of other claimants object where not just the seller but the potential buyer feels in trouble. It’s important to understand that under Hindu law, there are two types of properties: ancestral properties and self-acquired properties.

Difference between Ancestral Property and Self-Acquired Property

Ancestral property under Hindu Law is called Coparcenary property, wherein after the 2005 amendment, even the daughters borne in any such Joint Hindu Family will also get their share like the sons. Before the amendment, only male members of the Joint Hindu family were called Coparceners.

On the other hand, a self-acquired property is any property purchased by an individual from his own resources or any property he acquired as a part of the division of any Ancestral/Coparcenary property. This also includes a property obtained through a legal heir or by any Testamentary document like Will.

Can I sell ancestral property as Karta?

If you are a Karta of a HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) you have all the powers to manage the family and its assets under the Hindu law. However, you don’t have an absolute independent, individual ownership of the property and each coparcener has share, right, title and interest in the ancestral property.

There are some provisions wherein you can sell ancestral property being Karta of HUF as mentioned in Mitakshara. Firstly, during the time of distress, secondly for the sake or benefit of the family and thirdly for pious purposes like religious work. Here ‘Time of Distress’ means the requirement that affects the whole family, like a case of legal necessity.

Similarly, whereas ‘For the sake of the family’ means for its maintenance of the home, ‘pious purposes’ includes indispensable acts of duty such as the obsequies of the ancestors and other religious works. For the Sake of the Family may also include selling the property for family necessity and benefit.

Can I sell ancestral property as a Coparcener?

A coparcener can sell his interest in the ancestral property for that he needs to ask his share out from the ancestral property. For it he may file a suit for partition at any time. The settled law is that if some purchaser has bought the portion of a coparcener in the ancestral property he cannot compel him to file a suit for partition; it is the choice of the coparcener to decide as to when he would like to put an end to the status of the jointness and be separate in property.