How an Ad Litem Gets Appointed in Legal Proceedings
"Ad litem" refers to someone appointed for a specific purpose related to a legal proceeding. It acts as an adjective, not a standalone title, and is usually paired with another term like "guardian" or "next friend." Here are two prominent uses of "ad litem" in Indian law:
1. Guardian Ad Litem (GAL):
- Represents minors (individuals under 18) or persons with cognitive disabilities who cannot advocate for themselves in legal proceedings.
- Appointed by the court to protect the individual's best interests and ensure their voice is heard.
- Responsibilities include investigating the situation, understanding the individual's wishes, advocating for their rights, and participating in court proceedings on their behalf.
- Examples: Child custody disputes, property inheritances involving minors, legal suits against persons with disabilities.
2. Next Friend:
- Similar to a GAL but appointed for individuals who lack the legal capacity to initiate legal proceedings themselves, such as minors or those declared mentally incompetent by the court.
- Files lawsuits or petitions on their behalf, ensuring proper representation and adherence to legal procedures.
- Often chosen from family members or close associates familiar with the individual's needs and wishes.
- Examples: Filing a lawsuit for compensation on behalf of an injured minor, initiating legal proceedings for someone declared mentally unfit to manage their affairs.