Family Courts Act,1984

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Act No : 66


Section : SHORT TITLE, EXTENT AND COMMENCEMENT

FAMILY COURTS ACT, 1984
66 of 1984
14th September, 1984.

STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS Several associations of women, other organizations and individuals have urged, from time to time, that Family Courts be set up for the settlement of family disputes, where emphasis should be laid on conciliation and achieving socially desirable results and adherence to rigid rules of procedure and evidence should be eliminated. The Law Commission in its 59th report (1974) had also stressed that in dealing with disputes concerning the family the court ought to adopt an approach radically different from that adopted in ordinary civil proceedings and that it should make reasonable efforts at settlement before the commencement of the trial. The Code of Civil Procedure was amended in 1976 to provide for a special procedure to be adopted in suits or proceedings relating to matters concerning the family. However, not much use has been made by the courts in adopting this conciliatory procedure and the courts continue to deal with family disputes in the same manner as other civil matters and the same adversary approach prevails. The need was, therefore, felt, in the public interest, to establish Family Courts for speedy settlement of family disputes.

2. The Bill, inter alia, seeks to:-

(a) provide for establishment of Family Courts by the State Governments;

(b) make it obligatory on the State Governments to set up a Family Court in every city or town with a population exceeding one million;

(c) enable the State Governments to set up, such courts, in areas other than those specified in (b) above:

(d) exclusively provide within the jurisdiction of the Family Courts the matters relating to:-

(i) matrimonial relief, including nullity of marriage, judicial separation, divorce, restitution of conjugal rights, or declaration as to the validity of marriage or as to the matrimonial status of any person:

(ii) the property of the spouses or of either of them;

(iii) declaration as to the legitimacy of any person;

(iv) guardianship of a person or the custody of any minor;

(v) maintenance, including proceedings under Chapter 9 of the Code of Criminal Procedure;

(e) make it obligatory on the part of the Family Court to endevour, in the First instance to effect a recnciliation or a settlement between the parties to a family dispute. During this stage, the proceedings will be informal and rigid rules of procedure shall not apply;

(f) provide for the association of social welfare agencies, counsellors, etc., during conciliation stage and also to secure the service of medical and welfare experts;

(g) provide that the parties to a dispute before a Family Court shall not be entitled, as of right, to be represented by legal practitioner. However, the Court may, in the interest of justice, seek assistance of a legal expert as amicus curiae;

(h) simplify the rules of evidence and procedure so as to enable a Family Court to deal effectively with adispute:

(i) provide for only one right of appeal which shall lie to the High Court,


3. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects. -Gaz. of Ind., 21 -8-1984, Pt. II, S. 2, Ext., p. 9 (No. 47). Act 59 of 1991 :-

Matters relating to maintenance allowance to wives, children and parents are heard underSection 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. After the enactment of the Family Courts Act, 1984. a proceeding for maintenance falls within the jurisdiction of the Family Courts at the places where such courts have been established. At other places, Magistrate of the area exercises the jurisdiction in such matters. There is provision for appeal under the Family Courts Act, 1984 against order made by a Family Court but, when the maintenance order is passed by a Magistrate, a revision lies under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

2. The Conference of Chief Justices had in December, 1989 has recommended that the provision existing in the Family Courts Act, 1984 regarding appeal against order made by a Family Court underSection 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973may be deleted and, in its place, revision may be provided for in the said Act.

3. Clause 2 of the Bill, therefore, seeks to amendSection 19of the Family Courts Act, 1984. It, however, inlends to save the pending appeals and also the right to appeal from the orders passed before the commencement of the amending Act.

4. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects. -See Gaz. of India, 16-8-1992, Pt. II, S. 2, Ext., p. 3 (No. 35),

An Act to provide for the establishment of Family Courts with a view to promote conciliation in, and secure speedy settlement of, disputes relating to marriage and family affairs and for matters connected therewith.

BE it enacted by parliament in the Thirty-fifth Year of the Republic of India as follows:-

SECTION 01: SHORT TITLE, EXTENT AND COMMENCEMENT

(1) This Act may be called the Family Courts Act, 1984.

(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(3) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint, and different dates1may be appointed for different States.



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