Purpose of Family Courts Act
Family Courts Act 1984 came with an ambition of constructing and establishing a fast-track justice system for the resolution of matrimonial disputes. It applies to the conciliation of family and marriage issues. Conciliation refers to a speedy resolution and fast-track judgment.
Various Family courts were established after the enforcement of this act. This act provided jurisdiction to courts to try and entrust verdicts upon disputes arising out of wedlock.
The act came into force on the 14th of September 1984. And, approx 715 family courts were established in 26 states and union territories including 3 family courts in the state of Himachal Pradesh and two family courts in the state of Nagaland as of April 2022.
Jurisdiction of Family Courts
Section 7 (1) of the Family Court Act 1984 entrusts the jurisdiction of the district court or any subordinate civil court to a family court in the following matters:
(a) a suit or proceeding between the parties to a marriage for a decree of nullity of marriage (declaring the marriage to be null and void or, as the case may be, annulling the marriage) or restitution of conjugal rights or judicial separation or dissolution of marriage;
(b) a suit or proceeding for a declaration as to the validity of a marriage or as to the matrimonial status of any person;
(c) a suit or proceeding between the parties to a marriage with respect to the property of the parties or of either of them;
(d) a suit or proceeding for an order or injunction in the circumstances arising out of a marital relationship;
(e) a suit or proceeding for a declaration as to the legitimacy of any person;
(f) a suit or proceeding for maintenance;
(g) a suit or proceeding in relation to the guardianship of the person or the custody of, or access to, any minor
Introduction of Amendment Bill, 2022
The Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 18 2022 by Minister of Law and Justice Mr Kiren Rijiju. Later on, the aforementioned bill was passed in the lower house of the parliament on the 26th day of July 2022. And, as per the procedure of amendment mentioned in the Constitution of India, it was passed on the 04th of August 2022 by the upper house of the parliament which is the Rajya Sabha.
Reason and Aftermath
In the case of Omkar Sharma Versus the State of Himachal Pradesh and another, the petitioner contended upon a lack of jurisdiction of Family Courts in the State of Himachal Pradesh according to the Family Courts Act 1984 in Criminal Revision Petition No. 180 of 2021.1
The petitioner contended that, as the Union Government has not issued any notification to extend the competence of Family Courts in the State of Himachal Pradesh, such Courts are incompetent and anything done or any action taken under the said Act appears to be void ab initio and the notification issued by the State of Himachal Pradesh establishing the Family Courts is ultra vires, as the said Act was not in force in the State of Himachal Pradesh.
Now, the court is hearing upon its competence and the matter is pending after making the Union of India a party.
Highlights of the Bill
The aforementioned bill has proposed to alter various provisions of the law some of which are mentioned below:
- The Bill seeks to extend the application of the Act to the state of Himachal Pradesh, with effect from February 15, 2019.
- The Bill seeks to extend the application of the Act to the state of Nagaland, with effect from September 12, 2008.
- The establishment of courts through the amended act will have a retrospective impact on disputes.
- The retrospective effect will be counted from the aforementioned dates which are February 15, 2019, and September 12, 2008.
- The retrospective effect will include acts such as:
- Appointment of judges
- Passing of orders
- Judgments passed by the established Family Courts
- Competence will be questionable only upon matters outside the jurisdiction of section 7(1) of the existing act which is the Family Courts Act, 1984.
- The act shall come into force in different states and on different states, the same will be notified in the Official Gazette of India.
by Khushi Shukla
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Adjuva Legal and Adjuva Legal does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
- CWP No. 2571/2021