The natural guardians of a Hindu minor, in respect of the minor's person as well as in respect of the minor's property (excluding his or her undivided interest in joint family property), are
(a) in the case of a boy or an unmarried girlthe father, and after him, the mother; provided that the custody of a minor who has not completed the age of five years shall ordinarily be with the mother;
(b) in the case of an illegitimate boy or an illegitimate unmarried girlthe mother, and after her, the father;
(c) in the case of a married girl
Provided that no person shall be entitled to act as the natural guardian of a minor under the provisions of this section
(a) if he has ceased to be a Hindu, or
(b) if he has completely and finally renounced the world by becoming a hermit (vanaprastha) or an ascetic (yati or sanyasi).
Explanation.In this section the expressions father and mother do not include a step-father and a step-mother.