A Question may arise whether it is possible to merge two HUFs.
We have seen earlier that HUF consists of all persons who are lineally descendants of common ancestors and consists of their wives and unmarried daughters. We have seen earlier that the coparcenary under the old law consisted of only male members and included male members upto three generations i.e., sons, grandsons arid great-grandsons.
Sometimes, it happens that on a total partition of a bigger HUF consisting of the above persons, the joint family is partitioned and the coparceners form their own HUF out of the joint family/ancestral property so received.
It may very well therefore be possible for them unite later on bybringing the properties together again by merging the HUFs so that the conditions of the Hindu Law is not violated as regards the coparceners and the members who can form the HUF. Such a merger is also known as Reunion in the terminology of Hindu Law.
1. Reunion under the Hindu law
The effect of merger or reunion is that it restores the orginal status of Joint Hindu Family. The reunion can be by way of an agreement or even oral reunion which reflects the intention of the parties to reunite. In the case of Bhagwan Dayal Vs Reoti Devi reported at AIR 1962 SC 287, the Hon’ble Apex Court observed as under:
It is also well settled that to constitute a reunion there must be an intention of the parties to reunite in estate and interest. It is implicit in the concept of a reunion that there shall be an agreement between the parties to reunite in estate with an intention to revert to their former status of members of a joint Ilindu family. Such an agreement need not be express, but may be implied from the conduct of the parties alleged to have reunited. But the conduct must be of such an incontrovertible character that an agreement of reunion must be necessarily implied therefrom. As the burden is heavy on a party asserting reunion, ambiguous pieces of conduct equally consistent with a reunion or ordinary joint enjoyment cannot sustain a plea of reunion. The legal position has been neatly summarized in Mayne’s Hindu Law, 11th edn., thu at p. 569
‘As the presumption is in favour of union until a partition is made out so after a partition the presumption would be against a reunion. To establish it, it is necessary to show, not only that the parties already divided, lived or traded together, but that they did so with the intention of thereby altering their status and of farming a joint estate with all its usual incidents. It requires very cogent evidence to satisfy the burden of establishing that by agreement between them, the divided members of a joint Hindu family have succeeded in so altering their status as to bring themselves within all the rights and obligations that follow from the fresh formation of a joint undivided Hindu family.”
Thus in case of reunion, it is better to have an agreement to avoid future misunderstandings, otherwise a cogent evidence is required to establish the reunion.