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Ms. Githa Hariharan & Anr vs Reserve Bank Of India & Anr on 17 February, 1999
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rights and freedom without distinction of any kind whatsoever such as race, sex or religion and the ratification of the convention for elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (for short CEDAW) by the United Nations Organisation in 1979 and subsequent acceptance and ratification by India in June 1993 also amply demonstrate the same. 2. We the people of this country gave ourselves a written Constitution, the basic structure of which permeates equality of status and thus negates gender bias and it is on this score, the validity of Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956 has been challenged in the matters under consideration, on the ground that dignity of women is a right inherent under the Constitution which as a matter of fact stands negatived by Section 6 of the Act of 1956. 3. In order, however, to appreciate the contentions raised, it would be convenient to advert to the factual aspect of the matters at this juncture. The facts in WP c No.489 of 1995 can be stated as below:- 4. The petitioner and Dr. Mohan Ram were married at Bangalore in 1982 and in July 1984, a son named Rishab Bailey

born to them. In December, 1984 the petitioner applied to the Reserve Bank of India for 9% Relief Bond to be held in the name of their minor son Rishab alongwith an intimation that the petitioner No.1 being the mother, would act as the natural guardian for the purposes of investments. The application however was sent back to the petitioner by the RBI Authority advising her to produce the application signed by the father and in the alternative the Bank informed that a certificate of guardianship from a Competent Authority in her favour, ought to be forwarded to the Bank forthwith so as to enable the Bank to issue Bonds as requested and it is this communication from the RBI authorities, which is stated to be arbitrary and opposed to the basic concept of justice in this petition under Article 32 of the Constitution challenging the validity of section 6 of the Act as indicated above. 5. The factual backdrop in WP c No.1016 of 1991 centres round a prayer for custody of the minor son born through the lawful wedlock between the petitioner and the first respondent. Be it noted that a divorce proceeding is pending

Court under Article 32 of the Constitution praying for de claration of the provisions of Section 6(a) of the Act read with Section 19(b) of the Guardian Co nstitution. and Wards Act as violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the 6.Since, challenge to the constitutionality of Section 6 of the Act is involved in both the matters, the petitions were heard together. 7. Ms. Indira Jaisingh, appearing in support of the petitions strongly contended that the provisions of section 6 of the Act seriously disadvantage woman and discriminate man against woman in the matter of guardianship rights, responsibilities and authority in relation to their own children.

10. Be it noted that the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956 has been engrafted on the statute book by way of an amendment and codification of certain parts of the law relating to minority and guardianship among Hindus. It is not out of place to mention also that Hindu law being one of the oldest known system of jurisprudence has shown no signs of decrepitude and it has its values and importance even today. But the law makers however thought it prudent to codify certain parts of the law in order to give a fruitful meaning and statutory sanction to the prevailing concept of law having due regard