Child welfare committee expected to show sensitivity, not conduct proceedings in business-like manner: Delhi HC

Members of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) are expected to show sensitivity and adopt vernacular langauge when dealing with “surrender” of a child born from incidents of alleged sexual assault and not conduct proceedings in a “business-like manner”, the Delhi High Court has said.

The court’s observations came while dealing with a POCSO case in which the child born to a woman, who knew only Urdu, was surrendered and later given for adoption.

It noted that CWC records showed that the application of surrender, explanation of surrender, etc. were all written or filled in English.

“In these circumstances, it was even more critical that the entire proceedings should have been explained to the victim herein as well as her guardian in their vernacular language or the language they speak and understand, and the CWC members, who are expected to show utmost sensitivity and be participating in the proceedings instead of conducting the proceedings in a business-like manner, should have seen that the victim and her mother understood the proceedings that were being conducted,” said Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma in a recent order.

The court further noted that according to the statements made before the CWC, the victim had a relationship with the accused, who was now in judicial custody in the POCSO case and was unaware of the surrender of the child, out of her own free will and had also opted to continue with the pregnancy.

Justice Sharma appointed lawyer Kumud Lata Das as amicus curiae to assist the court to consider the issues arising in the matter and sought to know if there was any procedure adopted by the CWC to explain to the victims the provisions relating to surrender of children and its consequences in vernacular language or the language she understood.

It also sought to know who would have been the legal guardian of such a child when both the biological father and mother of the child were alive and were in a consensual relationship.

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