The Delhi High Court has directed that custody of a 16-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped by her brother, be given to her father and has appointed a welfare officer as Guardian ad litem (GAL) to look after her.
A GAL is a person appointed by a court to represent the best interests of a child in a divorce or parental rights and responsibilities case.
“… we direct that custody of the minor daughter of the petitioner shall be handed over to the petitioner forthwith,” a division bench of justices G S Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said.
The bench which took into regard the guidelines for recording of evidence of vulnerable witnesses in criminal matters, appointed welfare officer Somy Harshan as the GAL.
It directed Harshan to approach the Delhi High Court Legal Aid Society for legal assistance for the minor girl.
To assess the wellbeing of the girl at her house, the bench directed the woman assistant sub-inspector of Chanakyapuri police station to visit her house once in 15 days for a period of two months and report to the SHO in case it is found that the minor is being harassed.
When the bench asked the girl, who was present in the court along with her counsel, whether she wanted to join her parents or not, she expressed her desire to join them.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by a man seeking a direction to Delhi government to release her daughter from Paripurna Jeevan Shelter Home and produce her before this court and grant him her custody being the natural guardian.
In his petition, he said his daughter was in wrongful confinement and custody of Paripurna Jeevan Shelter Home on the strength of an order passed by the Child Welfare Committee constituted by the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The girl in her complaint has alleged that her own brother has allegedly raped her and after being produced before the Child Welfare Committee in March, she was directed to be housed at Paripoorna Jeevan Homes for Girls.
The girl in her statement recorded before the magistrate had shown no interest to return to her house and in fact expressed her desire to stay at a place, where she could live in peace. Her brother has been arrested by the police and is in judicial custody.
( Source – PTI )