Delhi High Court recently appointed a welfare officer to look after a 16 year girl allegedly raped by her brother. The Bench was hearing a writ petition filed by the father of the victim under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, seeking a direction from the court to release her from Paripurna Jeevan Shelter Home.
The Welfare Officer and Support Person, who have advised the minor daughter submit that the minor daughter of the petitioner should be handed back to the petitioner, nevertheless, with certain conditions. The Court appointed Ms.Somy Harshan, Welfare Officer, as a guardian ad litem for the minor daughter of the petitioner.
The bench held as follows:
“Having regard to the facts of the present case, taking into consideration the submission made by counsel for the parties and in view of the Guidelines for recording of evidence of vulnerable witnesses in criminal matters, we direct that the custody of the minor daughter of the petitioner shall be handed over to the petitioner forthwith, however, having regard to the guidelines for recording of evidence of vulnerable witnesses in criminal matters, more particularly guidelines no.15 and 16, which are reproduced in the paragraphs aforegoing, we appoint Ms.Somy Harshan, Welfare Officer, as a guardian ad litem for the minor daughter of the petitioner. Ms.Somy Harshan would be entitled to take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of the minor daughter of the petitioner. She would be guided by Rule 16 of the aforestated guidelines. In view of Guidelines no.17, we authorise Ms.Somy Harshan, guardian ad litem, to approach the Delhi High Court Legal Aid Society for legal assistance for the minor daughter of the petitioner. We are also informed that an NGO being ‘Counsel to Secure Justice’ is providing legal assistance to the daughter of petitioner. We further direct the parents of the minor daughter to permit and grant free access to the minor daughter to visit a counselor once in every two weeks for a period of two months and thereafter once in a month or as and when the child deems proper”.