Section 6 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 provides as under:
“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”.
Section 9(3) provides that,“The mother may give the child in adoption if the father is dead or has completely and finally renounced the world or has ceased to be a Hindu or has been declared by a Court of competent jurisdiction to be of unsound mind. “
In the case of Githa Hariharan and Ors. v. Reserve Bank of India and Ors. [MANU/SC/0117/1999] Court elevated the mother to an equal position as the father, bolstering her right as a natural guardian of the minor child.