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
(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.

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