Salient features of Family Courts Act, 1984

Salient features of family Courts Act, 1984

Definition of Family Court Act, 1984

Family Court” means a Family Court established under section 3.

Family courts are specialized type of of court entrusted with the disposal of the cases concerning disputes relating to the family . These family courts deals with the litigation concerning marriage , divorce, maintenance , guardianship and the property of the spouses.

The environment of family courts expected to be different from regular courts. The atmosphere is supposed to be quiet informal and relaxed. And the judges need not put on robes and judges need not set on raised platform.

Origin & establishment of family court in India

  • The need to establish the family courts was first emphasized in India by the late smt. Durgabal Deshmukh after a tour of China in 1953, where she had an occasion to study the working of family courts. She discussed the subject with certain judges eagle experts and then made a proposal to set up a family court in India to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • Thereafter, The Law commission in its report as early as 1973 ( 54th report of the code of civil procedure), strongly recommended the need for special handling of matters pertaining to divorce.
  • The code of civil procedure was amended to provide for a special procedure to be adopted in suits or proceedings relating to matters concerning the family.
  • The need was therefore, felt in the public interest to establish family courts for speedy settlement of family disputes.
  • After a lot of debate and discussion the family courts Act came into force on 14 September ,1984. The whole idea behind the Act is to ensure Speedy and inexperience relief with least formality and technicalities.
  • In India first and foremost the family court was established in the state of Rajasthan 19 November, 1985.
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In M.P. Gangadhara V/S State of Kerala (2006 SC) , the supreme Court has held that family court should be established not only because it is provided in the Act but the state must be alive to the situation that it has a duty to provide all infrastructure to the forum of dispute resolution.

There are two main pillars on which the whole structure of family courts is built are as following-

  • Counselling
  • Conciliation

Aims & Objectives of THE FAMILY COURTS ACT,1984

  • To make obligatory on the state to establish number of Family courts.
  • To provide jurisdiction to the family courts on nullity of Marriage, divorce, judicial separation, restitution of Conjugal rights, validity of marriage, property disputes between members of family, legitimacy of the child, Guardianship, custody of children and maintenance etc.
  • To make mandatory of conciliation proceedings on Family courts.
  • To settle family disputes through conciliation.
  • Reconciliation and settlement.
  • To provide social and medical assistance to assist the
  • Parties to settle their disputes by conciliation.
  • To prevent legal practitioners except as amicus curiae.
  • To simplify the rules of evidence.

Jurisdiction

Section 7 of this act confers those power and jurisdiction on the family courts which are exercised by the District Court or Subordinate Civil Courts in their suits and proceedings. The Explanation of this section tells about the nature of the suits and proceedings, which are as follows:

  • A suit or proceeding for the decree of nullity of marriage, or restitution of conjugal rights, or for the dissolution of the marriage between the parties;
  • A suit or proceeding for determining the validity of a marriage or matrimonial status of a person;
  • A suit or proceeding in the matter related to the properties between the parties to a marriage;
  • A suit or proceeding for an injunction or order arising out of a marriage;
  • A suit or proceeding for declaring the legitimacy of a person;
  • A suit or proceeding for maintenance;
  • A suit or proceeding for the guardianship of the person, or custody of any minor.
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Under Section 7(2), the family courts have also the power to exercise a jurisdiction which is exercised by a Magistrate of the first class under Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and such other jurisdiction as provided by any other enactment.

Reconciliation between the parties by the Court

Section 9 of this act prescribes the duty of the family court to make efforts to promote reconciliation between the parties. As, per Section 9(1), in the first instance, the family court, in every suit or proceeding, shall make efforts to convince the parties to settle the dispute with an agreement and for this purpose, the family court may follow the rules prescribed by the High Court or follow such rules or procedure as the family court may deem fit.

According to Section 9(2), if the family court finds that at any stage of the proceeding there is a reasonable probability of settlement between the parties, the court has the power to adjourn the proceedings until the settlement is reached. And as per Section 9(3), the power prescribed under sub-section 2 is an addition to the powers of the family court.

Conclusion

The uniformity is so less regarding the rules laid down by different states also leads to vagueness in the proper application of the Act. Though the Act was aimed at removing the gender biasness in Statuary legislation. The goal is yet to be achieved. The frequent changing of marriage counselors each time .

The family courts need to adopt various dynamic steps for the smooth and proper functioning of the family court.

Author: Kajal Bind,
Prayag Vidhi Mahavidyalaya (Allahabad State University),2nd year BA.LLB

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