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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Order XXXII, Rules 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 14 of the Code (as amended in Karnataka State Not only, is there no provision for appointment of next friend by the Court, but the permission of the Court is also not necessary.



                                                              REPORTABLE


                            IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                             CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                            CIVIL APPEAL NO.  22969  OF 2017


     Nagaiah and another                                      ..Appellants

                                              Versus

     Smt. Chowdamma (dead) By Lrs.
     and another                                              ..Respondents
J U D G M E N T MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR, J.
1.The judgment dated 08.01.2013 passed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in Regular Second Appeal No. 1102 of 2004 is called in question in this appeal by the unsuccessful plaintiffs. Signature Not Verified
2. Digitally signed by SARITA PUROHIT Brief facts leading to this appeal are: Original Suit No. 228 Date: 2018.01.09 17:21:11 IST Reason: of   1989   was   filed   by   the   appellants   herein   (plaintiffs   1   and   2  respectively   in   the   suit)   praying   for   a   declaration   that   the   suit schedule   property   is   the   joint  property  of  the  appellants  along   with their   father   Kempaiah   (defendant   no.1   in   the   suit/respondentno.2herein) and that they are entitled to 2/3rd share in the said property; that the sale deed executed by the father¬Kempaiah (defendant no.1 in the   suit/respondent   no.2   herein)   in   favour   of   defendant no.2/respondent   no.1¬Chowdamma   was   not   binding   on   their   2/3 rd share in the suit schedule property.  A relief for permanent injunction was also sought.   A certain set of other facts was also pleaded which may not be material for the disposal of this appeal.   It is relevant to note   that   at   the   time   of   filing   of   the   suit,   i.e.   on   24.01.1985,   the appellant no.2 herein, namely, Krishna was aged about 17 years.  The appellant   no.1/Plaintiff   No.1   herein   being   the   elder   brother   of appellant no.2 filed the suit not only on his personal behalf but also on behalf of the second appellant-second plaintiff (who was a minor). 
3. The  trial Court dismissed the suit   on   merits.     The   first Appellate Court allowed the Regular Appeal No. 90 of 2003 filed by the unsuccessful   plaintiffs   and   decreed   the   suit.     Aggrieved   by   the judgment   of   the   first   appellate   Court,   the   unsuccessful   defendant no.2¬   Chowdamma/purchaser   of   the   property   filed   Regular   Second Appeal before the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore. 
By   the   impugned   judgment,   the   High   Court   has   allowed   the appeal and dismissed the suit mainly on the ground that the plaintiff no.1 being the elder brother could not act as the guardian of plaintiff no.2   during   the   life¬time   of   Kempaiah, the father   of   the   plaintiffs (defendant no.1), inasmuch as plaintiff no.1/appellant no.1 was not appointed as a guardian of the minor plaintiff no. 2 by any competent Court.  Since the first defendant is the father of plaintiff no.2, he was the natural guardian and hence he could only represent plaintiff no.2 and none else.
  It is to be noted that no issue was raised in the trial Court with regard to competency of plaintiff No.1 to represent plaintiff no.2 in the suit.   Even in the first appellate Court, such question was not raised, hence not considered.  However, the High Court seems to have permitted such question to be raised for the first time in the second appeal, since it is purely a question of law.
4. Hence,   the   only   question   to   be   decided   in   this   appeal   is, whether   the   first   plaintiff   being   the   elder   brother   of   minor   second plaintiff (at the time of filing of the suit) could have filed the suit on behalf of the minor as his next friend/guardian.
5. The   High   Court,   while   coming   to   the   conclusion   that   the first plaintiff could not have acted as a guardian of the minor¬ second plaintiff,   has   relied   upon   Section   4(b)   of   the   Hindu   Minority   and Guardianship   Act   (hereinafter   called   as   ‘Hindu   Guardianship   Act’). Sub-Section (b) of Section 4 of the Hindu Guardianship Act reads as under:
“(b) "guardian” means a person having the care of the person of a minor or of his property or of both his person and property, and includes—
(i) a natural guardian,
(ii)   a   guardian   appointed   by   the   will   of   the   minor's father or mother,
(iii) a guardian appointed or declared by a court, and
(iv)  a   person   empowered to act  as such  by   or  under any enactment relating to any court of wards;” As mentioned supra, the High Court has ruled that defendant no.1, being   the   father   of   minor   plaintiff   no.2,   is   the   natural   guardian   of plaintiff no.2 and consequently plaintiff no.1 could not have acted as the guardian in the suit on behalf of minor plaintiff, particularly when he was not appointed as a guardian by any competent court of law.  In our considered opinion, the High Court has totally misdirected itself while concluding so.
6. There cannot be any dispute that the plaintiff no.1 did not and does not come within the meaning of a “Guardian” as specified in sub-section (b) of Section 4 of the Hindu Guardianship Act. But the present   facts   are   not   governed   by   the   provisions   of   Hindu Guardianship   Act;   rather   they   are   governed   by   Order   XXXII   of   the Code of Civil Procedure (hereinafter referred to “Code”).  To decide the present   controversy   it   would   be   relevant   to   note   the   following provisions as contained in Order XXXII,   Rules 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 14 of the Code (as amended in Karnataka State, since the matter is from Karnataka State) :
1. Minor   to   sue   by   next   friend.–Every   suit   by   a minor shall be instituted in his name by a person who in such suit shall be called the next friend of the minor.
[Explanation:  In this Order, “minor” means a person who has not attained his majority within the meaning of Section 3 of the Indian Majority Act, 1875 (9 of 1875), where the suit relates to any of the matters mentioned in clauses (a) and (b) of Section 2 of that Act or to any other matter.]
2. Where   suit   is   instituted   without   next   friend, plaint   to   be   taken   off   the   file.–  (1)   Where   a   suit   is instituted   by   or   on   behalf   of   a   minor   without   a   next friend, the defendant may apply to have the plaint taken off the file, with costs to be paid by the pleader or other person by whom it was presented.
(2)   Notice   of   such   application   shall   be   given   to   such person,   and   the   Court, after  hearing  his  objections  (if any) may make such order in the matter as it thinks fit.
3. Qualifications to be a next friend or guardian.— (1) Any person who is of sound mind and has attained majority   may   act   as   next   friend   of   a   minor   or   as   his guardian for the suit:
Provided that the interest of that person is not adverse to that of the minor and that he is not, in the case of next friend, a defendant, or, in the case of a guardian for the suit, a plaintiff  (2) Appointed or declared guardians to be preferred and to be superseded only for reasons recorded.— Where a minor   has   a   guardian   appointed   or   declared   by competent authority, no person other than the guardian shall act as the next friend of the minor or be appointed his guardian for the suit unless the Court considers, for reasons to be recorded, that it is for the minor’s welfare that another person he permitted to act or oe appointed as the case may be.
(3) Where the defendant is a minor, the Court on being satisfied   of   the   fact   of   his   minority   shall   appoint   a proper person to be guardian for the suit for the minor. A   person   appointed   as   guardian   under   this   sub¬rule, shall,   unless   his   appointment   is   terminated   by retirement or removal by order of Court on application made   for   the   purpose   or   by   his   death,   continue throughout all proceedings in the suit or arising out of the   suit   including   proceedings   in   any   appeal   or   in revision and  any  proceedings in execution of a decree and the service of any process in any such proceeding on the said guardian if duly made shall be deemed to be good service for the purposes of such proceedings.
(4) An order for the appointment of a guardian for the suit may be obtained upon an application in the name and   on   behalf   of   the   minor   or   by   the   plaintiff.   The application   where   it   is   by   the   plaintiff   shall   whenever necessary set forth in the order of their suitability a list of   persons   who   are competent  and qualified  to  act as guardian for the suit for the minor defendant. (5) The application referred to in the last preceding sub¬ rule whether made by the plaintiff or on behalf of the minor   defendant   shall   be   supported   by   an   affidavit verifying the fact that the proposed guardian has not or that no one of the proposed guardians has any interest in the matters in controversy in the suit adverse to that of   the   minor   and   that   the   proposed   guardian   or guardians   are   fit   persons   to   be   so   appointed.   The affidavit   shall   further   state   according   to   the circumstances of each case particulars of any existing guardian appointed or declared by competent authority, the name and address of the person, if any, who is the de   facto   guardian   of   the   minor,   the   names   and addresses of persons, if any, who, in the event of either the   natural   or   the   de   facto   guardian   or   the   guardian appointed or declared by competent authority, not being permitted   to   act,   are   by   reason   of   relationship   or interest,   or   otherwise   suitable   persons   to   act   as guardians for the minor for the suit.
(6) An application for the appointment of a guardian for the   suit   of   a   minor   shall   not   be   combined   with   an application   for   bringing   on   record   the   legal representative of a deceased party.
(7)   No   order   shall   be   made   on   any   application   under sub-rule (4) above except upon notice to the minor and also to any guardian of the minor appointed or declared by an authority competent in that behalf, or where there is no such guardian upon notice to the father or natural guardian   of   the   minor   or   where   there   is   no   father   or natural   guardian   upon   notice   to   the   person   in   whose actual care the minor is and after hearing any objection which may be urged on behalf of any person so served with notice. The notice required by this sub-rule shall be   served   at   least   seven   clear   days   before   the   day named in the notice for hearing of the application. (8)   Where   none   of   the   persons   mentioned   in   the   last preceding   sub¬rule   is   willing   to   act   as   guardian,   the Court   shall   direct   notice   to   other   person   or   persons proposed   for   appointment   as   guardian   either simultaneously to some or all of them or successively as it   may   consider   convenient   or   desirable   in   the circumstances of the case. The Court shall appoint such person as it thinks proper from among those who have signified   their   consent   and   intimate   the   fact   of   such appointment to the person appointed by registered post unless he is present at the time of appointment either in person or by pleader.
(9) No person shall be appointed guardian for the suit without   his   consent   and   except   in   cases   where   an applicant himself prays for his appointment as guardian notices issued shall clearly require the party served to signify his consent or refusal to act as guardian. (10) Where the Court finds no person fit and willing to act as guardian for the suit the Court may appoint any of its officers or a pleader of the Court to be a guardian and may direct that costs to be incurred by that officer or pleader in the performance of his duties as guardian shall   be   borne   either   by  the  parties or  by  any  one or more   of   the   parties   to   the   suit   or   out   of   any   fund   in Court   in   which   the   minor   is   interested   and   may   give direction for the repayment or allowance of the costs as justice and the circumstances of the case may require. (11) When a guardian for the suit as a minor defendant is appointed and it is made to appear to the Court that the   guardian   is   not   in   possession   of   any   or   sufficient funds   for   the   conduct   of   the   suit   on   behalf   of   the defendant and that the defendant will be prejudiced in his  defence  thereby, the Court may from time to time order  the   plaintiff to advance moneys to the guardian for   the   purpose   of   his   defence   and   all   moneys   so advanced   shall   form   costs   of   the   plaintiff   in   the   suit. The  order shall direct that the guardian as and when required by the Court shall file into Court the account of the moneys so received by him."¬¬
6. Receipt by next friend or guardian for the suit of property under decree for minor. – (1) A next friend or guardian for the suit shall not, without the leave of the Court, receive any money or other movable property on behalf of a minor either—
(a) by way of compromise before decree or order, or
(b)   under   a   decree   or   order   in   favour   of   the   minor. (2) Where the next friend or guardian for the suit has not been appointed or declared by competent authority to be guardian of the property of the minor, or, having been so appointed or declared, is under any disability known   to   the   Court   to   receive   the   money   or   other movable property, the Court shall, if it grants him leave to receive the property, require such security and give such   directions   as   will,   in   its   opinion,   sufficiently protect the property from waste and ensure its proper application:
[Provided   that   the   Court   may,   for   reasons   to   be recorded,   dispense   with   such   security   while   granting leave   to   the   next   friend   or   guardian   for   the   suit   to receive money or other movable property under a decree or order, where such next friend or guardian—
(a) is the manager of a Hindu undivided family and the decree or order relates to the property or business of the family; or
(b) is the parent of the minor.] Provided that the Court may in its discretion dispense with   the   security   in   cases   where   the   next   friend   or guardian   for   the   suit   is   a   manager   of   a   joint   Hindu family or the Karnavan of a Tharwad or the Ejaman of an   Aliyasanthana   family   and   the   decree   is   passed   in favour   of   such   joint   family   or   Tharwad   or   the Aliyasanthanafamily as the case may be.
7.  Agreement   or   compromise   by   next   friend   or guardian  for the suit.–(1) No next friend or guardian for   the   suit   shall,   without   the   leave   of   the   Court, expressly   recorded   in   the   proceeding,   enter   into   any agreement   or   compromise   on   behalf   of   a   minor   with reference to the suit in which he acts as next friend or guardian.
(2) Where an application is made to the Court for leave to   enter   into   an   agreement   or   compromise   or   for withdrawal of a suit in pursuance of a compromise or for taking any other similar action on behalf of a minor or other person under disability, the affidavit in support of the application shall set out the manner in which the proposed   compromise,   agreement   or   other   action   is likely to effect the interests of the minor or other person under   the   disability   and   the   reason   why   such compromise, agreement or other action is expected to be for   the   benefit   of   the   minor   or   other   person   under disability, where in such a case the minor or the other person   under   disability   is   represented   by   counsel   or pleader, the said counsel or pleader shall also file into Court   along   with   the   application   a   certificated   to   the effect   that   the   agreement   or   compromise   or   action proposed is in his opinion for the benefit of the minor or other person under disability. If the Court grants leave under sub rule (1) of this Rule, the decree or order of the   Court  shall  expressly recite the grant of the leave sought   from   the   Court   in   respect   of   the   compromise, agreement   or   other   action   as   aforesaid   after consideration   of   the   affidavit   and   the   certificate mentioned   above   and   shall   also   set   out   either   in   the body   of   the   decree   itself   or   in   a   schedule   annexed thereto   the   terms   of   the   compromise   or   agreement   or the particulars of other action.
(3)   Any   such   agreement   or   compromise   entered   into without   the   leave   of   the   court   so   recorded   shall   be voidable against all parties other than the minor.
9.  Removal   of   next   friend.–(1)   Where   the   interest   of the next friend of a minor is adverse to that of the minor or   where   he   is   so   connected   with   a   defendant   whose interest  is   adverse to  that  of the minor  as to make it unlikely   that   the   minor’s   interest   will   be   properly protected by him, or where he does not do his duty, or during the pendency of the suit, ceases to reside within India, or for any other sufficient cause, application may be made on behalf of the minor or by a defendant for his removal; and the Court, if satisfied of the sufficiency of the   cause   assigned,   may   order   the   next   friend   to   be removed accordingly, and make such other order as to costs as it thinks fit.
(2) Where the next friend is not a guardian appointed or declared by an authority competent in this behalf, and an application is made by a guardian so appointed or declared,   who   desires   to   be   himself   appointed   in   the place of the next friend, the Court shall remove the next friend unless it considers, for reasons to be recorded by it, that the guardian ought not to be appointed the next friend   of   the   minor,   and   shall   thereupon   appoint   the applicant to be next friend in his place upon such terms as to the costs already incurred in the suit as it thinks fit
12.   Course   to   be   followed   by   minor   plaintiff   or applicant on attaining majority.– (1) A minor plaintiff or   a   minor   not   a   party   to   a   suit   on   whose   behalf   an application is pending shall, on attaining majority, elect whether he will proceed with the suit or application.  (2)   Where   he   elects   to   proceed   with   the   suit   or application, he shall apply for an order discharging the next friend and for leave to proceed in his own name.  (3) The title of the suit or application shall in such case be corrected so as to read henceforth thus:— “A,B.,  late  a  minor, by C.D., his next friend, but now having attained majority”.
(4) Where he elects to abandon the suit or application, he shall, if a sole plaintiff or sole applicant, apply for an order to dismiss the suit or application on repayment of the costs incurred by the defendant or opposite party or which may have been paid by his next friend.
(5)   Any   application   under   this   rule   may   be   made   ex parte;   but   no   order   discharging   a   next   friend   and permitting a minor plaintiff to proceed in his own name shall be made without notice to the next friend.
13.   Where   minor   co ¬plaintiff   attaining   majority desires   to   repudiate   suit.–(1)   Where   a   minor   co¬ plaintiff   on  attaining  majority desires to repudiate the suit, he shall apply to have his name struck out as co¬ plaintiff;   and   the   Court,   if   it   finds   that   he   is   not   a necessary   party,   shall   dismiss   him   from   the   suit   on such terms as to costs or otherwise as it thinks fit.  (2) Notice of the application shall be served on the next friend, on any co¬ plaintiff and on the defendant. (3) The costs of all parties of such application, and of all or any proceedings theretofore had in the suit, shall be paid by such persons as the Court directs.
(4) Where the applicant is a necessary party to the Suit, the Court may direct him to be made a defendant.
14.  Unreasonable   or   improper   suit.–(1)   A   minor   on attaining majority may, if a sole plaintiff, apply that a suit   instituted   in   his   name   by   his   next   friend   be dismissed   on   the   ground   that   it   was   unreasonable   or improper.
(2) Notice of the application shall be served on all the parties concerned; and the Court, upon being satisfied of such unreasonableness or impropriety, may grant the application and order the next friend to pay the costs of all parties in respect of the application and of anything done in the suit, or make such other order as it thinks fit.
14¬A.  When a minor defendant attains majority either he or the guardian appointed for him in the suit or the plaintiff   may   apply   to   the   Court   to   declare   the   said defendant a major and to discharge the guardian and notice thereof shall be given to such among them as are not  applicants.   When the Court by  order  declares the said   defendant   as   major   it   shall   by   the   same   order discharge the guardian and thereafter the suit shall be proceeded with against the said defendant as a major. A  bare   reading   of   Order   XXXII, Rule 1 of the  Code makes it amply clear that every suit by a minor shall be instituted in his name by a person who in such suit shall be called the “next friend” of the minor. The next friend need not necessarily be a duly appointed guardian as specified under Sub-Section (b) of Section 4 of Hindu Guardianship Act.   “Next friend” acts for the benefit of the “minor” or other person who is unable to look after  his or her own interests or manage his or her   own   law   suit   (person   not  sui   juris)   without   being   a   regularly appointed guardian as per Hindu Guardianship Act.   He acts as an officer of the Court, especially appearing to look after the interests of a minor or a disabled person whom he represents in a particular matter. The afore-said provision authorises filing of the suit on behalf of the minor by a next friend.   If a suit by minor is instituted without the next   friend,   the   plaint   would   be   taken   off   the   file   as   per   Rule   2   of Order   XXXII   of   the   Code.     Order   XXXII   Rules   1  and   3  of   the   Code together make a distinction between a next friend and a guardian ad litem; i.e., (a) where the suit is filed on behalf of a minor and (b) where the suit is filed against a minor.   In case, where the suit is filed on behalf of the minor, no permission or leave of the Court is necessary for   the   next   friend   to   institute   the   suit,   whereas   if   the   suit   is   filed against a minor, it is obligatory for the plaintiff to get the appropriate guardian ad litem appointed by the Court for such minor. A “guardian ad   litem”  is   a   special   guardian   appointed   by   a   court   in   which   a particular litigation is pending to represent a minor/infant, etc. in that particular litigation and the status of guardian ad litem exists in that specific litigation in which appointment occurs. Various High Courts have also adopted this view. The Madras High Court in  Kaliammal, minor by Guardian, Patta Goundan v. Ramaswamy Goundan, AIR 1949   Mad.   859  observed   that   there   is   no   need   of   sanction   of   the Court for a next friend to sue, if he is not incapacitated.  This was also the view taken by the High Court of Allahabad in K. Kumar v. Onkar Nath, AIR 1972 All. 81.
7. The   Kerala   High   Court   upheld   the   same   in   no   uncertain terms in Gopalaswamy Gounder v. Ramaswamy Kounder, AIR 2006 Ker 138. In that case, the High Court observed that any person who does not have any interest adverse to that of the minor can figure as his next friend. It held as follows:
“Law   does   not   contemplate   the   appointment   of   a next   friend   for   a   minor   who   institutes   a   legal proceeding   either   as   a   Plaintiff   or   as   a   Petitioner. The object of a minor being represented through a next friend is only for the purpose of enabling the opposite party to look upon the next friend for costs, if any, ordered against the minor…” ….      ….         ….
Where   the   minor   institutes   a   proceeding   as   a Plaintiff or applicant any person who does not have any interest adverse to that of the minor can figure as  his  next friend. The mere fact that the minor's mother Selvi was appointed as the guardian of the minor   in   execution   proceedings   where   the   minor was   impleaded   as   an   additional   Respondent,   will not   disable   Gopalaswamy   Kounder   from   styling himself   as   the   next   friend   of   the   minor   for   the purpose of filing the petitions under Order 21, Rule 90 Code of Civil Procedure There was absolutely no necessity   for   the   next   friend   to   seek   his appointment  as   the next  friend nor  was the  court below   justified   in   dismissing   the   said   application. Even in a case where the proceedings are instituted by   the   minor   through   his   next   friend,   the   real Plaintiff  or applicant is the minor himself and not the next friend.”
8. Not   only,   is   there   no   provision   for   appointment   of   next friend   by   the   Court,   but   the   permission   of   the   Court   is   also   not necessary.
However, even in respect of minor defendants, various High Courts are consistent in taking the view that the decree cannot be set aside even where certain formalities for the appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent the defendant have not been observed.  The High Courts   have   observed   in   the   case   of   minor   defendants,   where   the permission of the Court concerned under Order XXXII Rule 3 of the Code is not taken, but the decree has been passed, in the absence of prejudice   to   the   minor   defendant,   such   decree  cannot  be  set  aside. The   main   test   is   that   there   has   to   be   a   prejudice   to   the   minor defendant for setting aside the decree. For reference, see the cases of Brij   Kishore   Lal   v.   Satnarain   Lal   &   Ors.,   AIR   1954   All.   599, Anandram   &   Anr.   v.   Madholal   &   Ors.   AIR   1960   Raj.   189 Rangammal   v.   Minor   Appasami   &   Ors.   AIR   1973   Mad.12,Chater Bhuj Goel v. Gurpreet Singh AIR 1983 Punjab 406 & Shri Mohd.  Yusuf  and  Ors.  v.  Shri Rafiquddin Siddiqui.  ILR  1974 (1) Delhi 825.
In the matter on hand, the suit was filed on behalf of the minor and therefore   the   next   friend   was   competent   to   represent   the   minor. Further, admittedly no prejudice was caused to plaintiff no. 2.

9.      “Guardian” as defined under the Hindu Guardianship Act is a different concept from the concept of “next friend” or the “Guardian ad litem”.     Representation   by   “next   friend”   of   minor   plaintiff   or   by “guardian  ad litem” of minor defendant is purely temporary, that too for the purposes of that particular law suit.
10. There   is   no   hurdle   for   a   natural   guardian   or   duly constituted   guardian   as   defined   under   Hindu   Guardianship   Act   to represent   minor   plaintiff   or   defendant   in   a   law   suit.       But   such guardian   should   not   have   adverse   interest   against   minor.     If   the natural guardian or the duly constituted guardian has adverse interest against the minor in the law suit, then a next friend or guardian  ad litem,   as   the   case   may   be,   would   represent   the   minor   in   the   civil litigation.
11.   It is by now well settled and as per the provisions of Order XXXII   of   Code   that   any   person   who   is   of   sound   mind,   who   has attained majority, who can represent and protect the interest of the minor, who is a resident of India and whose interest is not adverse to that of the minor, may represent the minor as his next friend. Such person who is representing the minor plaintiff as a next friend shall not be party to the same suit as defendant. Rules 6 and 7 of Order XXXII of the Code specifically provide that the next friend or guardian
in the suit shall not without the leave of the Court receive any money or immovable property and shall not without the leave of the Court enter into any agreement or compromise.  The rights and restrictions of the natural guardian provided under the Hindu Guardianship Act do not conflict with the procedure for filing a suit by a next friend on behalf of the minor.   Not only is there no express prohibition, but a reading of Order XXXII of the Code would go to show that wherever the legislature thought it proper to restrict the right of the next friend, it has expressly provided for it in Rules 6 and 7 of Order XXXII of the Code.  Rule 9 of Order XXXII – apart from other factors, clarifies that where a next friend  is not a guardian appointed or declared by the authority competent in this behalf and an application is made by the guardian so appointed or declared who desires to be himself appointed in the place of the next friend, the Court shall remove the next friend unless   it   considers,   for   reasons   to   be   recorded,   that   the   guardian ought   not   to   be   appointed   as   the   next   friend   of   the   minor.     Order XXXII, Rules 12, 13 and 14 of the Code empower the minor plaintiff to take a decision either to proceed with the suit or to abandon the suit, after attaining majority.  Thus, after attaining majority,  if the plaintiff elects   to   proceed   with   the   suit,   he   may   do   so   by   making   an application,   consequent   upon   which   the   next   friend   ceases   to
represent the minor plaintiff from the date of attaining majority by the minor.  Order XXXII Rule 12 of the Code requires the minor plaintiff to have the option either to proceed with the suit or to abandon the suit and  does not  at all  provide that if no such election is made by the minor  plaintiff  on attaining majority, the suit is to be dismissed on that ground. In case, if the Court discovers during the pendency of the suit that the minor plaintiff has attained majority, such plaintiff needs to be called upon by the Court to elect whether he intends to proceed with the suit or not. In other words the minor who attained majority during the pendency of the matter must be informed of the pendency of the suit and in the absence of such a notice the minor cannot be imputed with the  knowledge of the pendency of the suit. So, before any adverse orders are to be made against the minor who has attained majority, the Court has to give notice to such person. Of course, in the present matter, under the facts and circumstances, such occasion did not arise, since plaintiff no. 2 on attaining majority has continued with the suit, which means he has elected to proceed with the suit.
12. 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. 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.
13. In the case on hand, respondent No.2/defendant 1, though was the father of the plaintiff no.2 could not have represented plaintiff no.2   in   the   present   suit   as   his   guardian,   because   his   interest   was adverse to that of plaintiff no.2.   A number of allegations are made against the vendor of the property i.e. against the natural guardian by plaintiff no.2 in the suit while questioning the validity of the sale deed. The action of respondent no.2 herein (defendant no.1) in selling the property without any valid reason and family necessity is the subject matter in the suit. On the other hand, plaintiff no.1 (elder brother of plaintiff no.2) who did not have any adverse interest to that of plaintiff no.2, has properly represented plaintiff no.2 as his next friend.   The 
plaintiff   no.2   has   not   made   a   single   allegation   against   the   plaintiff no.1/his next friend, after he attained majority.
14. The   minor¬plaintiff   no.2   had   attained   majority   within   one   year from the date of filing of the suit. The suit, as afore¬mentioned, was filed on 21.04.1985 when the plaintiff No.2 was 17 years of age. Thus plaintiff   no.2   attained   the   age   of   majority   on   or   about   20.04.1986. Evidence of PW1 (the first witness of the plaintiffs) was recorded on 15.10.1992, which means, much prior to the recording of evidence of any of the witnesses, plaintiff no.2 had attained majority and he had by then elected to continue with the suit.   It is also relevant to note that plaintiff no.2 is pursuing the matter from the date of attaining majority till this date on his own. Therefore, it was not open for the High   Court   to   non¬suit   the   plaintiff   no.2   for   the   afore¬mentioned reasons.
15. Though   records   are   not   produced   before   us   to   show   that plaintiff no.2 had filed a formal application for discharging the next friend   after   he   attained   majority,   the   fact   remains   that   he   has continued with the proceedings on his own, from the trial Court to this Court.   The   same   clearly   shows  his  intention  of  continuing  with  the litigation. He has not abandoned his claim but has elected to continue with civil action.

16. To sum up, 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.
17. In view of the above discussion, we are of the opinion that the   impugned   order   relying   upon   the   provisions   of   Hindu Guardianship Act to non¬suit the plaintiff no.2 is not justified.  Having regard   to   the   totality   of   the  facts  and  circumstances  of  the  case,  it would be just and proper if the matter is remitted to the High Court for a fresh decision on merits in accordance with law.   Accordingly,
this appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent, the judgment of the High Court is set aside and the matter is remitted to the High Court for a fresh   decision   on   merits,   in   accordance   with   law.     Needless   to mention, that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case.  There shall be no order as to costs. 
…………………………………J.
         [Arun Mishra]               …………….……………………J.
[Mohan M. Shantanagoudar] New Delhi;
January  08, 2018






ITEM NO.1501                     COURT NO.10                         SECTION IV-A
(For Judgment)

                  S U P R E M E C O U R T O F                I N D I A
                          RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Civil Appeal No(s).22969/2017

NAGAIAH    & ANR.                                                  Appellant(s)

                                      VERSUS

SMT. CHOWDAMMA (DEAD) BY LRS.        & ANR.                        Respondent(s)


Date : 08-01-2018 This appeal was called on for pronouncement of Judgment today.
For Appellant(s) Mr. Nikhil Majithia,Adv.
Mr. Yadav Narender Singh,AOR For Respondent(s) Mr. Nishanth Patil,Adv.
Mr. Prasanna Mohan,Adv.
Mr. Anup Jain,AOR Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar pronounced the Reportable Judgment of the Bench comprising Hon’ble Mr. Justice Arun Mishra and His Lordship.
The appeal is allowed with no order as to costs in terms of the signed Reportable Judgment. Pending application, if any, stands disposed of.
      (Sarita Purohit)                             (Jagdish Chander)
         Court master                                Branch Officer

(Signed Reportable Judgment is placed on the file)

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