Nagaiah and another vs Smt. Chowdamma - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2018

 Nagaiah and another vs Smt. Chowdamma - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2018 - 


On 8th January, 2018, in the case of Nagaiah and another v. Smt. Chowdamma (dead) By Lrs. and another [Civil Appeal No. 22969 of 2017], it was held that the principles arising out of the Guardians and Wards Act,1890 and the Hindu Guardianship Act may not be apposite to the next friend appointed under Order XXXII of the Code of Civil Procedure.


It was held that “the appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent the defendant or a next friend to represent the plaintiff in a suit is limited only for the suit and after the discharge of that guardian ad litem /next friend, the right/ duty of guardian as defined under sub-section (b) of Section 4 of the Hindu Guardianship Act (if he has no adverse interest) automatically continues as guardian. In other words, a next friend representing the minor in the suit under Order XXXII, Rule 1 of the Code, will not take away the right of the duly appointed guardian under the Hindu Guardianship Act as long as such guardian does not have an adverse interest or such duly appointed guardian is not removed as per that Act.”


It was further held that “instituting a suit on behalf of minor by a next friend or to represent a minor defendant in the suit by a guardian ad litem is a time-tested procedure which is in place to protect the interests of the minor in civil litigation. The only practical difference between a “next friend” and a “guardian ad litem” is that the next friend is a person who represents a minor who commences a lawsuit; guardian ad litem is a person appointed by the Court to represent a minor who has been a defendant in the suit. Before a minor commences suit, a conscious decision is made concerning the deserving adult (next friend) through whom the suit will be instituted. The guardian ad litem is appointed by Court and whereas the next friend is not. The next friend and the guardian ad litem possess similar powers and responsibilities. Both are subject to control by the Court and may be removed by the Court if the best interest of the minor so requires.”

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