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.

Bullet Points on Section 6 of Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act:

  • Natural guardians of a Hindu minor for their person and property:
    • For boys and unmarried girls: Father followed by mother; custody with mother for minors under five.
    • For illegitimate boys and girls: Mother followed by father.
    • For married girls: Husband.
  • Conditions for eligibility as a natural guardian:
    • Must be Hindu.
    • Must not have renounced the world as a hermit or ascetic.
  • Step-parents are not included in the definitions of “father” and “mother” in this context.

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