What are the Powers of a Natural Guard­ian under the Hindu Marriage Act?

(ii) For the realization, protection or benefit of the minor’s estate.

However, the previous permission of the Court is required in the following two cases, viz.-

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(i) Cases where the guardian wishes to mortgage or charge, or transfer by sale, gift, exchange (or otherwise), any part of the immoveable property of the minor; and

(ii) Cases where the guardian wishes to lease any part of the immoveable property of the minor-

(a) For a term exceeding five years; or

(b) For a term exceeding more than one year beyond the date on which the minor would attain majority.

The Act expressly provides that any disposal of immoveable property of a minor by his natural guardian in contravention of what is stated above is voidable at the instance of the minor or any person claiming under him. This rule is obviously for the protection and benefit of the minor. Such a transfer, it may be noted, is not void, but merely voidable at the minor’s instance, which means that he can repudiate it, or adopt it if he so chooses.

Section 8 also clarifies that in no case can the natural guardian bind the minor by a personal covenant. The position under the Guardians and Wards Act is also the same.

It may also be noted that although the Court’s permission is necessary for an alienation of the minor’s property, no such permission is necessary for purchase of property for a minor.

The Court can also enforce specific performance of a purchase agreement at the instance of the natural guardian, if it is satisfied that the purchase is for the benefit of the minor, having regard to all the facts and circumstances of the case. (Radhyeshyam v. Kisan Bala, A.I.R. 1971 Cal. 341)

When an application is made to the Court for the alienation of a minor’s property, the Court would have to be satisfied that such a transfer is made for an evident advantage to the minor or because of a necessity. The provisions of the Guardians and Wards Act apply to such an application, as if the application was made under that Act. Consequently, the Court may attach conditions to its permission. Thus, it may order that the sale should not be completed without the sanction of the Court, or that the sale should be made to the highest bidder at a public auction, and so on.

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