An interesting question which has come up for discussion is whether HUF can consist of only female members. This is in view of the fact that female members have no right to partition and they are not treated as coparceners.
The circumstances in which female members constituting HUF comes into consideration are as follows:
- A HUF consisting of husband, wife, daughters-when the husband dies.
The Supreme Court in the case of CIT vs Sandhya Rani Datta (2001) 248 ITR 201 has held that the wife and daughter inheriting the property of a male Hindu do not form a HUF and that they could not also do so by agreement amongst themselves by throwing their respective inherited share in the hotchpotch, as such a course of action is contrary to the basic tenets of Hindu Personal law.
There may be different circumstances when female members are allowed to constitute HUF on the happening of an event say adoption of a male child. This issue is though a separate issue and the single issue at hand is whether HUF can consist of only female members to which the answer is a clear no.
- Again, in the case of Sushila Dcvi Rampuria vs ITO (1960) 38 ITR 316, the Calcutta High Court relying on the judgement of CIT vs Sarwar Kumar(1945) 13 ITR 361(All) held that it cannot be denied that a Hindu female cannot be a coparcener under the Hindu law. But, for the purpose of the Indian Income-tax Act, we are not concerned with the Hindu coparcenary, as has been clearly pointed out by the Judicial Committee. What we are conceded with is a Hindu undivided family. A female can be a member of a Hindu undivided family, which may even consist entirely of females.
- Moreover, the Apex court in the case of Commissioner of Income-tax vs Veerappa Chettiar (Rm. Ar. Ar.)(1970) 76 ITR 467 (SC) held that HUF can consist of all female members.