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Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956

6.Natural guardians of a Hindu minor.-

The natural guardians of a Hindu, minor, in respect of the minor's person as well as in respect of the minor's property (excluding his or her undivided interest in joint family property), are-

(a) in the case of a boy or an unmarried girl-the father, and after him, the mother: provided that the custody of a minor who has not completed the age of five years shall ordinarily be with the mother;

(b) in the case of an illegitimate boy or an illegitimate unmarried girl-the mother, and after her, the father;

(c) in the case of a married girl-the husband;

Provided that no person shall be entitled to act as the natural guardian of a minor under the provisions of this section-

(a) if he has ceased to be a Hindu, or

(b) if he has completely and finally renounced the world by becoming a hermit ( vanaprastha ) or an ascetic (yati or sanyasi )

Explanation.- In this section, the expressions 'father' and 'mother' do not include a step-father and a step-mother.

Comment: Mother can act as natural guardian of minor even when father is alive: Ms. Githa Hariharan v. Reserve Bank of India AIR 1999 SUPREME COURT 1149



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