Liability of a Son to pay the debts of his Father under Hindu Law
B. – (i) For debts incurred by the father as the manager of the joint family, the liability is on a par with that of any other coparcener who is obliged to pay the debts incurred by the manager for necessary purposes. The son, therefore, will be liable to the extent of his interest in the coparcenary property.
(ii) Before the 2005 Amendment (referred to above), where the debt was incurred by the father for his personal benefit, the son was liable, provided that the debt was not tainted with illegality or immorality. This liability, which was based on the doctrine of pious obligation, was not personal, but was limited only to the son’s interest in the coparcenary property. It existed even during the father’s life-time, and subsisted so long as the father was liable. If, therefore, the debt was barred by the law of limitation against the father, the son also was not liable.
However, the 2005 Amendment of the Hindu Succession Act has drastically changed this aspect of Hindu law. S. 6(4) of the said Act, as amended, states as follows:
“After the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (i.e. 9th September, 2005), no Court shall recognise any right to proceed against a son, grandson or great-grandson for the recovery of any debt due from his father, grandfather or great-grandfather solely on the ground of the pious obligation under the Hindu Law, of such son, grandson or great-grandson to discharge any such debt.”
It is also claified that debts contracted before 9th September, 2005 would not be affected by the said Amendment, i.e., creditors could proceed against the son, grandson or great-grandson in the matter. It is further clarified that the terms “son”, “grandson” and “great- grandson” would refer to a son, grandson and great-grandson, as the case may be, who was born or adopted prior to the said date.