"The doctrine of pious obligation under which sons are held liable to discharge their father's debts is based solely on religious considerations; the doctrine inevitably postulates that the father's debts must be vyavaharik. If the debts are not vyavaharik or are avyavaharik the doctrine of pious obligation cannot be invoked." The principle relating to the liability of the sons for debts incurred by the father may be briefly recapitulated.
# In respect of debts contracted by the father, even for his personal benefit, at a point of time when he is joint with his sons, the sons are liable to pay such debts, unless the debts were incurred for immoral or illegal purposes.
# This liability of the sons, which had its origin in an obligation of piety and religion, has since metamorphosed into one of legal liability but this 'does not, however, extend to debts tainted with immorality.
# The liability is not, however, personal in the sense that the creditor of the father cannot proceed either against the person or separate Property of the sons, but such liability is Restricted to the interest of the sons in the family property.
# It is settled that if the debt is contracted by the father after partition, the son cannot be made liable
# If, however, the debt is a pre-partition debt, the share of the sons would be liable even after partition, if the debts of the father are not immoral or illegal and the partition arrangement does not make any provision for the discharge of such debts.
# In case a creditor institutes a suit for the recovery of a debt against the father before partition and obtains a decree, the sons would be liable to discharge the decree passed against the father even after the partition.
# Even in respect of a pre-partition debt, if a suit is instituted against the father, after partition, but he dies and his separated sons are impleaded as legal representatives, the remedy of the decree-holder against the shares allotted to the sons on partition, would be in execution and not by way of an independent suit.
# If, however, after partition, a suit is instituted against the father on a pre-partition debt and a decree is obtained against him, such a decree cannot be executed against the sons and a separate suit has to be brought against the sons in order to enable creditor to realize the amounts out of their shares.
Thus the liability of the interest of the sons in such cases to discharge the debts incurred by the father is undisputed, though the method and manner of its enforcement by the creditor would vary and the sons must be afforded every opportunity, be it in a suit or execution proceedings to question the binding nature of the debt' or liability.
After the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, no court shall recognize 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.