Wednesday, May 29, 2024

𝗝𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹𝗗𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗺™

𝙰𝙵𝙵𝙾𝚁𝙳𝙰𝙱𝙻𝙴 & 𝙰𝙲𝙲𝙴𝚂𝚂𝙸𝙱𝙻𝙴

HINDU LAWMODEL ANSWER

PIOUS OBLIGATION

Discuss the concept of “Pious Obligation” and explain whether son is liable for personal debts of his father even after the Amendment of 2005 in Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

Hindu law is purely based upon Hindu texts and ideologies. According to these texts and ideologies, our Government of India has codified the Hindu law. These laws mostly deal with those rules which are mentioned either in Smritis or Shrutis.

The concept of pious obligation has spiritual importance and it can be found in Smritis and text of Brihaspati. On the basis of Smritis, our government has enacted provisions regarding pious obligation and section 6(4) of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 deals with the provisions of pious obligation.

The doctrine of pious obligation deals with the liability of son for the personal debt of his father. According to this principal, a son or grandson or great grandson will be liable for the personal debt of his father or grandfather or great grandfather.

This doctrine does not protect the interest of creditor from who father or grandfather or great grandfather has taken the loan but this doctrine tries to protect the interest of dead person. Because, according to Hindu Shastras, it is believed that if a person dies without discharging his liability, then to discharge his liability he has to take next birth and in next birth he will become slave or servant of creditor. So, for the salvation of the soul of father, this concept was introduced by Hindu saints.

According to Hindu law, it is duty of son or grandson or great grandson to discharge the liability of his father or grandfather or great grandfather. This liability does not arise from any contract. It arises only because of the relationship between son and father.

According to Hindu law, only son or grandson or great grandson will be liable for the debt of father or grandfather or great grandfather and no other relative will be liable to discharge the personal debts.

In the leading case of Kolasani Sivakumari vs. Kolasani Sambasiva [AIHC 2512 (A.P.)],The Hon’ble court held that, “ when a brother as a Karta contracts debts, the doctrine of pious obligation has no application and other members of family are bound only when the debt was for legal necessity or for family’s benefit.”

According to section 6(4) of Hindu Succession Act, 1956, if a father or grandfather or great grandfather takes a debt then the son or grandson or great grandson was not only liable to personal debt from the ancestral property which they have acquired but they were personally liable also.

Moreover, according to Hindu law, father in a Joint Hindu family has a right to sell or mortgage any joint family property to discharge his personal debt and coparceners cannot prevent him. They are bound by alienation made by father. But, the alienation only binds the son or grandson or great grandson if:-
• The alienation is made to discharge the antecedent debt.
• The debt was not taken for immoral purpose
.

In the leading case of Prasad vs Govindsawmi[(1982) 1 SCC 441], The Supreme court held that, “the alienation will bind the son only if father acts like a prudent man and does not sacrifice property for an inadequate consideration.”

According to Hindu law, a son or grandson or great grandson will be liable only for that debt which has been taken by father or grandfather or great grandfather for any moral purpose. It means if a father or grandfather or great grandfather takes a debt for immoral purpose, the his son or grandson or great grandson will be liable for that debt.

In such a situation, the burden of proof is upon son or grandson or great grandson to prove that the debt was taken for immoral purpose. It is not upon creditor. If the son or grandson or grate grandson wants to escape from liability, then he has to prove the immoral purpose and this burden of proof is heavy for him.

The concept of pious obligation is a very rigid concept because it protects the interest of dead person but it harasses the living person by raising their liability to discharge the personal debt of a dead person. That is why to protect the interest of living person in the year 2005, Government of India amended Section 6(4) of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and removed the concept of pious obligation.

According to new section, no creditor can file a suit only on the grout of pious obligation. He can file a suit only if he has other grounds. But this section has a prospective effect and not retrospective effect and according to this, if any debt has been taken by father before 2005 then after his death, the son will be liable to discharge the debt but if debt has been taken after 2005 then son will not be personally liable.

Hence, it can be said that, the amendment of 2005 was to protect the interest of living persons and according to this amendment, no son will be liable for the personal debts of his father. He will discharge the debt only if it has been taken before the amendment of 2005.

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