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Lavnya Anirudh Verma Judgement

In the present case, since the father of Minor ‘X’ was the accused and the mother had abandoned the family and remarried, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) had rightly appointed the petitioner as the guardian of Minor ‘X’ as there was no natural guardian. The learned Additional Sessions Judge was under a constitutional obligation and bound by the decisions of the Supreme Court and this Court laying down guidelines to be followed and mandated the Court to ensure that the victim had a guardian ad litem and was given legal representation, the learned Additional Sessions Judge failed to comply with the same by not only not recognizing the guardian so appointed by the Child Welfare Committee but also by not appointing a guardian ad litem".

This judgement comes out of a case being represented in the trial court by HAQ:Centre for Child Rights' retainer lawyers Advocate Zishaan Iskandri. HAQ was appointed the support person in this case by the CWC and realised that the child needed legal representation, but had no one to sign the Vakalatnama for her. It not resolves a big issue about a child victim's right to legal representation in the absence of parents or fit parents, but also provides a much needed clarification on appointment of a guardian by the CWCs for such purposes.

While writing the Judgement in Crl. M.C. 301/2017 (Smt. Lavanya Anirudh Verma vs. State of NCT Delhi), Hon'ble Justice Mukta Gupta has specifically stressed on our constitutional obligations towards the vulnerable sections of the society and directed circulation of the judgement to all courts to ensure that no minor goes minors unrepresented.

HAQ is grateful to iProbono for extending it's probono legal services in pursuing this matter in the High Court.

HAQ is committed to promoting all rights for all children and thanks every individual and organisation who have supported it's initiative on improving children's access to justice and restorative care.

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