In a civil proceeding a person who has attained the age of majority (18 years in India) can move a suit for minor as next friend representing the minor. If the defendant is a minor, the Court shall appoint a guardian for representing the defendant minor. Both the next friend and guardian has some rights and duties. It is dealt with under Order 32 of the Code of Civil Procedure of 1908.
A person who wants himself to be appointed as a guardian has to file an affidavit verifying the fact that he has no interest in the suit adverse to that of minor and that he is the fit person to be so appointed.
Apart from the above necessity, the proposed guardian has to be a fit person i.e. he must be of sound mind and shall be major.(minimum 18 years of age)
A guardian can continue with the proceedings unless his appointment is terminated by retirement, removal or death. Turning into a person of unsound mind will render the person incapable of continuing as a guardian. This thing is not directly stated under Order 32. But we can infer so, as the basic qualification for becoming a guardian is that he should be a person of sound mind. So if a guardian or next friend becomes of unsound mind, any other person can move application for another appointment. The Court can also suo motu appoint a guardian in such cases by using the powers conferred under Section 151 and Order 32 Rule 4(2) and (4).
Not to receive money or property
Without the permission of the Court, the next friend or guardian shall not receive money or other movable property on behalf of minor whether it is by means of a compromise or a decree favourable to minor.
Not to compromise
No next friend or guardian can enter into any type of compromise in a suit on behalf of a minor. He can do so if permitted by the Court.
Protect interest of minor
A next friend or guardian shall at all times protect the interest of the minor. He is liable to be removed, if it is found that he is not doing the duty of protecting the minor's interest. A next friend can retire by giving an application to the Court and also procuring a fit person to become a new next friend and remitting the costs incurred. If a guardian retires, the Court shall appoint a new one.
Liable to costs
A minor on attaining majority may seek for dismissal of the suit on the ground that the ground was unreasonable one and improper. In such cases, the Court may order costs against the next friend.
I have dealt with some of the rights and duties of next friend and guardian. Court also have many functions. Invite your valuable points to this post which will help to update the content. Thank you.