Natural Guardian Under The Hindu Minority And Guardianship Act, 1956

There were no regulations governing the custody of children in ancient India. Guardianship rules were only developed in courts during the British era. When a kid's parents pass away, the court will formally appoint a guardian to care for him or her until the youngster reaches adulthood. The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 (hereafter "the Act of 1956") codifies the laws governing guardianship.

Who is Natural Guardian?

According to Section 6 of the HMGA, "the natural guardian of a Hindu minor, in respect of both the minor's person and his or her property (except his or her undivided participation in joint family property), are −

  • The father, and then the mother, in the case of a male or an unmarried girl.

  • It should be emphasized that the mother will typically have custody of a child under the age of five.

  • If the child is an illegitimate boy or girl who is not married, the mother will have custody first, followed by the father;

  • When a girl is married, her husband is responsible.

No one shall have the authority to act as a minor's natural guardian under the requirements of Section 6 of the HMGA.

  • If he no longer considers himself Hindu, or

  • If he has finally and fully abandoned the world by converting to (yati or sanyasi) ascetic or hermit (vanaprastha).

Rights of Natural Guardian

The following rights are accorded to minor children by their natural guardians −

  • Right to custody

  • Right to determine the religion of children

  • Right to education

  • Right to control movement

  • Right to reasonable chastisement

Powers of Natural Guardian

According to Section 8, the natural guardian has the following power over the child −

  • Hindu minors have a natural guardian who is empowered to carry out all duties that are required of them and advantageous to their wellbeing. Benefits or protection from the minor's state.

  • The court's prior approval is required for the natural guardian to use any gifts given to him, mortgages, or other valuables belonging to the child.

  • For the lease of any portion of the minor's property for a period of time exceeding five years or for a term that extends one year past the date the minor reaches majority. To do so, the court's prior approval is absolutely necessary.

  • In the case of a minor or any other person claiming on his behalf, any violation of a natural guardian's disposition of real estate will be voidable.

  • The natural guardian cannot be permitted by a court to take any action that is against the best interests of the minor.

  • If the request is made pursuant to Section 29 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, and on the following grounds −

    • The District Court or the court authorized by the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 must grant approval for the natural guardian.

    • Should file the application with the court whose local jurisdiction includes the property that belongs to the minor.

    • When the Court denies the natural guardian's request for authority to perform any acts of property transfer, an appeal would not be accepted, and this remedy is typically the outcome of this Court decision.


As people used to live in joint families, there were no guardianship laws in Hindu law before. The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, was thus enacted to provide the nation with appropriate guardianship legislation.

The definition of "natural guardian" is provided in Section 6 of the Act, and the powers of a natural guardian are discussed in Section 8. According to Section 6, the mother takes on the role of natural guardian upon the death of the father. It meant that the mother could only become the natural guardian after the death of the father and that they could not both be the natural guardians at the same time.

The meaning of the phrase "after him" was only expanded to include "in absence of" after the Gita Hariharan v. Reserve Bank of India case. It was discovered that there is gender discrimination in the segment since the father receives first preference. Numerous Law Commission reports called for the elimination of gender discrimination, but the statute was never changed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can mother be a natural guardian?

Ans. First, father has the legal right to act as a child's natural guardian under Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956. A mother can only be the natural guardian of an illegitimate child before the father.

Q2. What is the difference between guardian and natural guardian?

Ans. A Testamentary Guardian's authority is equal to a Natural Guardian's authority. Until the natural guardian's passing, the natural guardianship is in effect. When a kid turns 18 years old, the testamentary guardian's position expires. A young girl's guardianship ceases when she gets married.

Q3. Who is not a natural guardian of a minor?

Ans. The father is the child's natural guardian while he is still alive, and the mother only takes over as guardian naturally after his passing. Only the minor's parents or other close family members may be appointed as guardians.

Q4. Who are all natural guardian?

Ans. Natural guardian means father and mother who shall be deemed to be the natural guardians of the person of their minor children. If either dies or is incapable of action, the natural guardianship of the person shall devolve upon the other.

Updated on: 18-May-2023


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