Guardianship and Adoption of Minors


A Parliamentary panel has recommended conferring equal rights on mothers as guardians under the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (HMGA), 1956 instead of treating them as subordinates to their husband, and has called for joint custody of children during marital disputes. It has also proposed allowing the LGBTQI community to adopt children.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Recommendations of the Parliamentary panel on guardianship and child custody
  2. What does the law say on guardianship?
  3. Can queer and transgender people adopt children in India?

Recommendations of the Parliamentary panel on guardianship and child custody:

  • The department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice tabled its report in both Houses of Parliament on the ‘Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws’.
  • In its report the committee has said that there is an “urgent need to amend the HMGA (Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956) and accord equal treatment to both mother and father as natural guardians as the law violated the right to equality and right against discrimination envisaged under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution.”
  • In cases of marital dispute, the panel says there is a need to relook at child custody which is typically restricted to just one parent where mothers tend to get preference.
  • It says courts should be empowered to grant joint custody to both parents when such a decision is conducive for the welfare of the child, or award sole custody to one parent with visitation rights to the other.
  • On adoption, the Committee has said that there is a need for a new legislation that harmonises the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (HAMA), 1956 and that such a law should cover the LGBTQI community as well.

What does the law say on guardianship?

Indian laws accord superiority to the father in case of guardianship of a minor.

Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, (HMGA) 1956:

  • The natural guardian of a Hindu minor in respect of the minor’s person or property “is the father, and after him, the mother: provided the custody of a minor who has not completed the age of five years shall ordinarily be with the mother.”

Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937

  • The Shariat or the religious law will apply in case of guardianship according to which the father is the natural guardian, but custody vests with the mother until the son reaches the age of seven and the daughter reaches puberty though the father’s right to general supervision and control exists. The concept of Hizanat in Muslim law states that the welfare of the child is above all else.
  • This is the reason why Muslim law gives preference to the mother over the father in matters of custody of children in their tender years.

Githa Hariharan vs Reserve Bank of India in 1999

  • Challenged the HMGA for violating the guarantee of equality of sexes under Article 14 of the Constitution of India and the court held that the term “after” should not be taken to mean “after the lifetime of the father “, but rather “in the absence of the father”.
  • But the judgment failed to recognise both parents as equal guardians, subordinating a mother’s role to that of the father.
  • Though the judgment sets a precedent for courts, it has not led to an amendment to the HMGA.

What about cases of marital disputes?

  • In cases of marital disputes, some courts such as the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Bombay High Court have framed rules to grant joint custody or shared parenting.
  • Instead of this “patchwork” there is a need to amend the law, including the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 to introduce concepts such as joint custody.

Can queer and transgender people adopt children in India?

  • The Adoption Regulations, 2017 is silent on adoption by LGBTQI people and neither bans nor allows them to adopt a child.
    • Its eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents says that they should be physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable and should not have any life-threatening medical condition.
    • Single men can only adopt a boy while a woman can adopt a child of any gender.
    • A child can be given for adoption to a couple only if they have been in a marital relationship for at least two years.
  • The HAMA which applies to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists allows men and women to adopt if they are of sound mind and are not minors.
  • Activists say LGBTQI people who seek adoption face institutional discrimination because of stigma.
  • Therefore, the law should be amended to include them as eligible candidates including when they apply as non-single parents such as when they are in civil unions or married for which there is no legal recognition in the country as yet even though the Supreme Court legalised gay sex in 2018.

SSLV-D1/EOS-2 Mission


The SSLV D1/EOS-2 mission was carrying two satellites — the Earth Observation Satellite-2 (EOS-2 and AzadiSAT. However, the mission failed to place the satellites in their required orbits, and the satellites, as they were already detached from the launch vehicle, were lost.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What was the purpose of the SSLV-D1/EOS-2 mission?
  2. Which part of the mission succeeded and where did it fail?
  3. Difference between circular and elliptical orbits
  4. What are the launch vehicles used by ISRO?

What was the purpose of the SSLV-D1/EOS-2 mission?

  • The purpose of this mission was to place the two satellites in circular low-Earth orbits at a height of about 350 km above the Equator.
  • The mission aimed to place the EOS-2 in a circular low-Earth orbit at a height of about 350 km above the Equator and inclined at an angle of 37 degrees.

EOS-2 (135 kg):

  • It was designed and developed by ISRO, offered advanced optical remote sensing operations.
  • It would have operated in the infrared region and could have served many purposes, from imaging for climate studies to simply keeping an eye on Earth.

AzadiSAT (8 kg):

  • It was a collective of 75 tiny payloads weighing around 50 grams each, which were integrated by students.
  • It carried tiny experiments which would have measured the ionising radiation in its orbit and also a transponder which worked in the ham radio frequency to enable amateur operators to access it.

Which part of the mission succeeded and where did it fail?

  • The SSLV was composed of three stages powered by solid fuels and these three performed their function as planned.
  • However, when it came to the stage when the satellites had to be set in orbit, there was a glitch which resulted in the satellites being lost forever.
  • With a degree of openness that is unprecedented in ISRO, it was announced that there was a malfunctioning of a sensor which resulted in placing the satellites in an elliptical orbit, rather than a circular orbit.
  • The ellipse or oval shape of the elliptical orbit is elongated in one direction and compressed in another (the so-called major and minor axes, which are like two radii of the ellipse).
  • The shortest height above the Earth of this oval orbit was only about 76 km.

Difference between circular and elliptical orbits

  • Mostly objects such as satellites and spacecrafts are put in elliptical orbits only temporarily.
  • They are then either pushed up to circular orbits at a greater height or the acceleration is increased until the trajectory changes from an ellipse to a hyperbola and the spacecraft escapes the gravity of the Earth in order to move further into space — for example, to the Moon or Mars or further away.
  • Satellites that orbit the Earth are mostly placed in circular orbits.
  • One reason is that if the satellite is used for imaging the Earth, it is easier if it has a fixed distance from the Earth.
  • If the distance keeps changing as in an elliptical orbit, keeping the cameras focussed can become complicated.

Why do we need to develop an SSLV when we have successfully used PSLV and GSLV?

  • The PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) are quite powerful and can carry huge loads.
  • To place an Earth Orbiting Satellite in a low Earth orbit, one does not need such power horses.
  • The SSLV can easily carry small-to-medium loads from 10 kg to 500 kg.
  • It is less expensive.
  • The three stages being powered by solid fuel is another advantage.
  • Solid fuel is easier to handle, whereas handling the liquid propellants used in the PSLV and GSLV is more complex.

Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022


Recently, the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 was introduced in Parliament amid protests and later sent to the standing committee for further deliberation.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What does the amendment Bill propose?
  2. What are the Protestor’s Arguments Against the Bill?

What does the amendment Bill propose?

The Bill seeks to amend Electricity Act 2003:

  • For consumers, the Bill, has proposed to amend Sections 42 and 14 of the Electricity Act, thus, enabling competition in retail distribution of power by offering the customers the option to choose electricity suppliers, just like they can choose telephone or internet service providers.
  • The amended Section 14, the Bill says, will “facilitate the use of distribution networks by all licensees under provisions of non-discriminatory open access”, while Section 42 will be ameded to “facilitate non-discriminatory open access to the distribution network of a distribution licensee”.
  • The Bill, with the amendment of Section 62 of the Act, makes provision for “mandatory” fixing of minimum as well as maximum tariff ceilings by the “appropriate commission” to avoid predatory pricing by power distribution companies and to protect consumers.
  • Also, the amendment Bill has several provisions to ensure graded and timely tariff revisions that will help provide state power utilities enough cash to be able to make timely payments to power producers.
    • This move is aimed at addressing the recurrent problem of default by distribution companies in payment to generation companies.
  • The bill through amendments in Section 166 of the Act also seeks to strengthen payment security mechanisms and give more powers to regulators.

What are the Protestor’s Arguments Against the Bill?

  • The Constitution lists ‘Electricity’ as Item 38 of List III (Concurrent) of the Seventh Schedule, so both the Central and state governments have the power to make laws on this subject.
    • With the proposed amendments, the federal structure of Indian polity, a part of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution of India, is being violated.
  • Free power for farmers and Below Poverty Line population will go away eventually.
  • Only government discoms or distribution companies will have universal power supply obligations.
    • Therefore, it is likely that private licensees will prefer to supply the electricity in profit-making areas – to industrial and commercial consumers.
    • Once this happens, profit-making areas will be snatched from government discoms and they will become loss-making companies.

AGM-88 HARM Missile


United States  confirmed  that Washington has supplied some “anti-radiation missiles” to Ukraine, which could be fired from some Ukrainian Air Force aircraft. The statement has put meat on Russian allegations that an American anti-radar missile, AGM-88 HARM, which is part of NATO’s inventory, has been used in the theatre of conflict.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the AGM-88 HARM missile?
  2. Do the Ukrainians have a platform to use these missiles?

What is the AGM-88 HARM missile?

  • The acronym ‘HARM’ in the AGM-88 HARM air-to-surface missile stands for High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile.
  • It is a tactical weapon fired from fighter aircraft, and has the capability to detect and home into radiation emitted by hostile radar stations that have surface-to-air detection capabilities.
  • The missile was originally developed by the Dallas-headquartered Texas Instruments, but is now produced by the major American defence contractor Raytheon Corporation.
  • The AGM-88 HARM is 14 metres in length, but only 10 inches in diameter.
  • It weighs around 360 kg and carries a fragmentation type warhead that is optimised for radar targets.
  • It also has an anti-radar homing seeker broadband RF antenna and receiver, and a solid state digital processor.
  • The missile has a range of more than 100 km.

Do the Ukrainians have a platform to use these missiles?

  • It would appear that only Western military groups have the required fighter aircraft to use these missiles, and that the AGM-88 HARM cannot be fitted and used on the Russian-origin aircraft that Ukraine has in its fleet.
  • Several NATO aircraft in Europe — including the Tornado ECR, F-16CM Block 50, and F/A-18-EA-18G — can fire the AGM-88 HARM missiles.
Is there no way the missile can be used by Ukraine’s Russian-origin aircraft?
  • Theoretically, it is possible to use the AGM-88 HARM in a limited mode in a Russian-origin aircraft.
  • However, this would have required a lot of fast-moving research and development which may not have been possible in Ukraine itself due to the extended conflict.


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