He is regarded as the Head of the family and occupies the supreme position in the matters of family. He is certainly the manager of the family property with powers which an ordinary manager does not possess. The Karta therefore cannot be equated with the manager of the property.
Who may act as Karta?
Generally the father, if living, would be Karta of joint family. It has been held that the father is in all cases naturally and in cases of infant sons, necessarily, the manager of the joint family estate. Where the father is not alive and the joint family consists of brothers only, the eldest brother in absence of any evidence to the contrary, shall be regarded as the manager of the family.
A minor cannot be the manager of a joint Hindu family. Ordinarily the senior member of the coparcenary is the Karta of the family but in some cases with the consent of other coparceners a junior member could also act as the Karta of family. In such a case he could also be dismissed from the office of Karta with the consent of all other coparceners as he was appointed so with their consent only. In a joint family coparcener-ship is an essential legal qualification for becoming a Karta. Hence a widow, who is not a coparcener, cannot become Karta of joint family.
Thus a widow of a coparcener cannot be a Karta of the joint Hindu family consisting of three widows and two minors. She cannot represent the joint Hindu family in any suit. The mother accordingly cannot alienate the share of a minor in joint Hindu family property. In absence of Karta, she could alienate the share of minor in the capacity of guardian with the permission of the Court.