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Definition Of Joint Family In Hindu Religion

As per definition in Hindu religion, a joint family consisted of all male descendants of a common ancestor together with their wives and unmarried daughters who lived under one roof. By the term family ancient Indian law givers meant a joint family.

The daughter on marriage ceased to be a member of the family of her birth and acquired membership of her husband’s family.

All the members lived united under one roof. This was called “togetherness in residence, food and worship”. It was a joint venture of person related closely and they carried on the family occupation by joint efforts, pooled their income and enjoyed the fruits of their efforts together. The senior male member was the karta (manager) of the joint family. In the event of his incapacity owing to sickness or old age, the next senior person was to be the karta of the joint family.

Rights Of The Members Of The Joint Family

Among the members of a joint family only male lineal descendents unto three generations were given the rights to inherit the immovable property. A person was considered as a major when he attained the age of sixteen. Though a major, he had no right to enter into a contract or to commit himself legally to any issue pertaining to patriarchal property.

Some limited rights were given to the unmarried daughters and widows. Recognition of rights of the sons from birth as also the exclusion of females from membership of joint family after marriage were based on the right to perform ancestral worship. Paying the debt to the manes being one of the fundamental duties of a person, the laws governing the family were also on the same lines.