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Report No. 133

Need of mother's care for child of tender age

6.53. The child under twelve years of age needs a tender affection, a caressing hand and the company of his mother, and neither the father nor his family relations, however close, well meaning and affectionate towards the minor, can appropriately serve as a proper substitute for the minor's mother. It should also be borne in mind that physical needs and comforts alone are not enough for the proper and healthy development of a child. Parental affection is indispensable for this purpose and in the case of a conflict between the parents when the child is under twelve years of age, the mother should have a preferential claim in regard to the child's custody. It is for these reasons that we have recommended an amendment of the Act of 1956 as to the age upto which custody should ordinarily be with the mother.

We fully and entirely concur with the reasoning reflected in the above-quoted passages and accordingly reiterate the recommendation that sub-section (a) of section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act should be amended so as to provide that the custody of a minor who has not completed 12 years of age shall ordinarily be with the mother.

Removal of Discrimination against Women in matters relating to Guardianship and Custody of Minor Children and elaboration of the Welfare Principle Back

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