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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » IV. National Mechanisms » Child Related Legislations » Guardians and Wards Act, 1890

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The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 was a law to supersede all other laws regarding the same. It became the only non-religious universal law regarding the guardianship of a child, applicable to all of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This law is particularly outlined for Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews as their personal laws don't allow for full adoption only guardianship. It applies to all children regardless of race or creed. Following is an overview of the act.

According to this act a minor/child is any person who has not completed 18 years of age. The court or appointed authority has the ability to decide the guardian of a child by appointing one a guardian or removing another as a guardian. No order will be passed without an application. Applications should contain all possible information about the child and guardian and reasons for guardianship. Once the court admits the application into court, then the court will set a date for the hearing. The court will hear evidence before making a decision. A minor and his property may have more than one guardian. The court must work in the interest of the minor, taking into consideration the age, sex, religion, character of the guardian, the death of the parent(s), relation of the child to the guardian, etc. The minor's preference may be taken into consideration.

The collector of the district where the minor lives can be appointed the guardian of the child. A minor will not a appointed if the child or her/his property is under a court of wards, if the minor is married and her husband is fit to take care of her, or whose father is alive and is deemed fit to take care of her. Guardians are not meant to make a profit out of their office, but can receive remuneration as the court sees fit. A minor can not be deemed a guardian of another minor. A guardian is responsible for the health, education and support of the ward. Guardians who wish to move the child out of the courts jurisdiction may only do so with the permission of the court. Failure to get permission is a punishable offence. A guardian of property may not mortgage or sale the property of a ward without the permission of a will or the court who must act in the interest of the ward.

A list of the wards property, immovable and movable, must be submitted by the guardian to the court. The court can allow the guardian to take funds from the property, or use part of whole of the property of the child for maintenance of the minor. A court may remove a guardian for abusing the trust of the court and not fulfilling his role as a guardian. A person who no longer wishes to be a guardian can apply to the court for a discharge. Other punishable offences are: failure of the guard to produce the property of the ward, failure to produce the ward in court when requested, and failure to produce accounts. Reports produced by subordinates of the court or collector can be considered evidence by the court. Certain orders can be appealed in a High Court

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