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What is the Role of ‘Ad Hoc Guardians’ under Hindu law?

The Madras High Court in Sri Aurobindo Society Pondicherry v. Ramadosa Naidu, clearly observed that “the position in law of ad hoc guardians is that their acts are null and void and cannot bind the minor, although they arc purported to be effected in the minor’s interest, for ad hoc guardians are neither de jure nor de facto guardians.”

Overriding Effect of the Act:

Section 5 of the Act repeals the written and customary law to the extent it is inconsistent with the provisions of the Act. Section 5 reads as follows:

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“Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act,

(a) Any text, rule or interpretation of Hindu law or any custom or usage as part of that law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall cease to have effect with respect to any matter for which provision is made in this Act.

(b) Any other law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall cease to have effect in so far as it is inconsistent with any of the provisions contained in this Act.”

The Act, however, expressly states that the provision of this Act shall be in addition to and not save as expressly provided in this Act, itself in derogation of the Guardian’s and Wards Act.

Overriding the pre-existing rules of Hindu law:

The following provisions specifically contained in die Act override the pre-existing law:—

(1) Age of minority among Hindus, which has been brought in line with the general law.

(2) The list of natural guardians which now includes only three persons.

(3) Restrictions on the powers of natural and testamentary guardian.

(4) Taking away the powers of the de facto guardian with respect to minor’s immovable property.

(5) Taking away the powers of the father to appoint a guardian by will to operate during the lifetime of the mother of the minor.

(6) Giving the power to the mother to appoint a testamentary guardian for her minor child.

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