Norman Macleod, Kt., C.J.
1. This was an application under the Guardians and Wards Act by the Kulmukhtyar of the Shankaracharya of the Sharadapith, Dakore, purporting to be the spiritual head of the community to which the opponents belonged. The occasion of the application was the approaching marriage of the girl for whom it was sought to get a guardian appointed. In the petition the Kulmukhtyar said : -'The opponent No. 1, the father of the girl, is unfit to be the gmirdian of the person of the minor for the reasons stated in paragraph 2, ' that is to say, because he Was going to marry the minor girl who was only four years' old, and thus sacrifice her in order to get a wife for himself, and because the petitioner apprehended that the minor girl might be left a widow at an early age. The Kulmukhtyar, therefore, prayed that the Court should give him the custody of the minor and appoint him guardian of the person and of the property of the minor.
2. Now, it may be conceded that any friend of a minor may approach the Court in the case of the minor being ill-treated and invoke the protection of the Court on behalf of the minor. But it is another question altogether if an outsider invokes the protection of the Court for a minor who is in the lawful custody of her father, unless the applicant can satisfy the' Court that it is for the welfare of the minor that an order should be made against the father. The reason here for asking the Court to interfere is that the father is marrying his daughter at the age of four which would leave her to the risk of becoming a widow during infancy. As the learned Judge remarks, such a marriage would be in conformity with the rules of the caste and the practices prevailing in the community, to which the father belong. However shocking an idea it may seem to other minds that an infant child should go through the ceremony of a marriage in a Community which does not permit widow remarriage, still it is not for this Court to enter into considerations of that kind . Whatever our own opinion may be, we have to consider in every case, which comes before us, the rules of the caste and the practices which prevail in- the particular community to which the parties belong. It would certainly be far more unjust and injurious if we were to set up our own opinions and enforce upon the parties the manners and customs which we consider they should conform to rather than those amongst which they have been brought up. The Judge was perfectly right in the conclusion which he came to. The appeal must be dismissed with costs.
3. I agree. The appellant in this case sought in the District Court by an application under the Guardians and Wards Act to deprive the father of the custody and the natural guardianship of the minor girl, on the ground that she was about to be married at the early age of four which would expose her to the risk of premature widowhood, and that the father was about to sacrifice his daughter's interests by resorting to the practice of Said marriages with a view to secure a bride for himself. I do not think that general considerations of that character, which are not opposed to the practice of the community to which the parties belong, can be ordinarily accepted as a sufficient ground for depriving the father of such rights as he has to look after the welfare of his minor children. The lower Court, it seems to me, was perfectly right in not entertaining this application on the grounds disclosed in the application. I do not say that a person in the position of the present applicant cannot come forward as a friend of the minor to seek the protection of the Court for the minor. It must depend upon the facts and circumstances of a particular case. But in the present case the grounds alleged are based more or less upon broad considerations concerning the practice and custom in a particular community; and it seems to me that it would be very unsafe to accept them as justifying an interference with the right of the father to the custody and guardianship of his minor daughter. The Court should require very clear and strong grounds to hold that it is for the welfare of the minor girl that she should be separated from her father and left under the care of a stranger.