Unwed mothers in India can now apply for child’s guardianship without consent from father: SC

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The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that an unwed Hindu mother would now be allowed to apply for guardianship of her minor child without a need to take consent from the child’s father. The ruling is the latest in a series of progressive judgments made by SC on marriage matters.

Currently, the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act requires marriage as a necessary consideration for a parent to apply guardianship of her child. Under this law, a woman requires the man’s permission to apply for guardianship.

The judgment is historic because it now makes it legal for a woman in India to maintain her status as an unwed mother and still take care of her child. This is crucial in the cases when the child does not know who his/her father is and when the woman does not want her child to be raised by his/her father.

In April this year, the SC had ruled that if an unmarried couple were living together as husband and wife, they would be presumed to be legally married and the woman would be able to inherit the property of her partner after his death.

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