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Hindu Son's Pious Obligations

What properties are liable for the payment of personal debt of Hindu? Are sons under pious obligation for the payment of their father’s personal debt even after partition, if so to what extent.

Explain son liability to pay father personal debt before and after partitions.

Following properties are liable for the payment of personal debt

Separate property

The separate property of Hindu is under all circumstances always liable for the personal debt, whether incurred from immoral or unlawful object.

Undivided coparcenary interest

Such property may be attached in his lifetime in execution of a decree against him and if so attached it may be sold even after his death.

Coparcenary property

When coparcenary consist of an ancestor and his sons, grandsons, and great grandsons, and the ancestor dies the whole coparcenary property is liable for his debt even after his death, subject to the conditions that the debt was not incurred for an immoral or unlawful purposes.

Nature of Liability

Debt occupy a very important place in the Hindu System of Law. It treated a fundamental principle of Hindu jurisprudent, viz. moral obligations takes place legal rights.

Hindu sages emphasis that one must pay one’s debt. Bharaspati says – one who do not pay his debt will be born hereafter in the creditor house as a slave, servant or woman.

According to Narada- if a very religious and devoted person died without paying his debt, all his religious benefit will lose. This is considering being the religious or pious duty of a son, and he must reply his father debt. Not only this but son, son’s son also liable to pay his grandfather debt.

But the liability differ according to their status like-

  1. Son is liable to pay full debt with interest of father.
  2. Son’s Son liable to pay only the principle.
  3. Grate grandson is liable to pay the extant he accrued the joint family property, he is not liable personally.

Doctrine of Pious Obligation

  1. The doctrine applies to all coparceners who are father, and not merely to the father who is head of the family i.e. Karta. When the coparcenary consist of the father and sons and if the father dies indebted the sons have the pious obligation to pay the debt of their father, not merely to the extent of the father’s interest ( determined only when partition take palace.) but to the extent of entire joint family property.
  2. The doctrine is not recognized under the Dayabhaga school.

Effect of Judicial decisions on the Doctrine

When Son liable to pay the debt

Since the liability of the son is pious the charter of the father’s debt is material, and the son is liable for the Father’s pre partition debt and not post partition debt. Provided the debt are not avyavaharika ( i.e. illegal dishonest or immoral).

Son’s liability only before partition

In Raghothaman V/S Kannappan the court held that sons are not liable for the post partition debts. Similar view was taken in Keshav and v/s The Bana of Bhihar , and also in Jayanti Lal v/s Srikant.

When liability arises

It is immaterial the father is alive or not , the liability arises the movement father fails to pay or father share in the joint property or his self acquire properties are found insufficient to meet the debt.

Duration of liability

It subsists only so long as the liability of the father subsists. Their liability is neither joint nor several. It arises even in father’s life time and not mere after father deaths.

Son’s Liability

Pious obligation is not son’s personal liability but he is liable to the creditor to the extent his interest in the coparcenary property

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