Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Delhi HC to deliberate over vernacular communication by CWC in child surrender cases

The Delhi High Court is set to address a crucial question regarding whether victims of sexual assault should be informed, in their vernacular or spoken language, about the provisions related to the surrender of children before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, handling a bail plea in a POCSO case involving a consensual marriage of a minor, has appointed Advocate Kumud Lata Das as amicus curiae in the matter.

The accused in the case, granted bail earlier, faced allegations of kidnapping and marrying the minor, resulting in a child being born and later surrendered for adoption.

The court stressed the importance of ensuring that the victim and her mother, who are not literate in English, understand the proceedings conducted by the CWC.

Justice Sharma noted that the records of CWC, including the application for surrender, were in English, creating a language barrier for those not proficient in the language.

Considering the victim’s illiteracy and her ability to understand only Urdu, the court stressed the need for proceedings to be explained in their vernacular language.

The court raised concerns about the sensitivity and communication approach of the CWC, stating that it should ensure that the victim and her mother comprehend the proceedings.

The appointed amicus curiae will address key issues, including procedures followed by the CWC in informing victims about child surrender provisions, determining the legal guardian when both parents are alive, and whether the victim was informed about the child’s adoption after a specified period.

The case is scheduled for further hearing on November 22.

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