The following are the rights and powers of a manager of a joint Hindu family.
1. Right to income:
The manager has control over the income and expenditure of the family and he keeps surplus of the income in his custody. He is not bound to economise or save like a paid agent or trustee so long as he spends the income for the family purpose. If he spends the income on maintenance, marriage, Sradh and other religious ceremonies of the coparcenary which are for the family purposes, he is not under any obligation to minimise it.
2. Power to contract debts:
The manager has the implied power to contract debts for family purposes and for joint family business. He can pledge the credit and property of the family for the ordinary purposes of the family business so as to bind the other coparceners also.
If the manager borrows money n a promissory note for the family business or to meet the family necessity the other members can be sued on the basis of that note even though they are not parties to it, but their liability is confined only to their interest in the family property unless they are also the parties to the note in which case they will be personally liable.
3. Power to enter into contracts:
The manager has also the general powers to make contracts, give receipts, compromise and discharge claims, ordinarily incidental to the joint family business. The reason is that if such power is not conferred upon him, it is quite impossible to carry on the business at all. A compromise entered into by him bona fide for the benefit of the family binds the other members, including minors also. (Dangal Ram v. Jaimangal, A.I.R. 1926 Pat. 361; Bhagwan Singh v. Behari Lai, A.I.R. 1937 Nag. 237).
4. Power of alienation:
The manager of a joint family has power to alienate for value the joint family property, provided that the alienation is made for legal necessity or for the benefit of the family estate. Such alienation binds the interest of both the minor and adult coparceners in the joint family property.
In the Hari Singh v. Umrao Singh, A.I.R. 1979, All. 65, the Allahabad High Court has observed that where a joint family property yielding no profit was agreed to be sold to purchase land available at much cheaper rate and yielding more profit at another village, the intended alienation must be for the benefit of the family and agreement to sell was not invalid in law.
5. Power to refer a dispute to attribution:
The manager has the power to refer to arbitration disputes relating to family property, provided such reference is for the benefit of the estate. The award on the basis of such reference will bind other coparceners of the family also including the minors.
6. Power of acknowledgment:
He has power to give valid discharge for a debt to the joint family.
He is competent to acknowledge a debt or to pay interest on a debt or to make part-payment of a debt so as to extend the period of limitation i.e., he cannot revive a time barred debt. He has no power to give up a debt due to the joint family. (Dashrathrama v. Narha, 109, 1.C. 329: A.I.R. 1928 Mad. 601).
7. Right of representation:
The manager can sue in respect of any family business transaction. He represents the family in such cases. The decision in such suits binds all the family members also. A coparcener who is not the managing member is not entitled to sue alone as representing the joint family.
It has been held in Ramnathan v. Veerappa, A.I.R. 1956 Mad. 89 : (1955) 2 M.L.J. 602 by the Madras High Court that the managing member can sue and be sued in all matters affecting the family without joining the other members of the family, but in a partition suit the entire joint family must be represented either expressly or impliedly.