Disturbance in family life cripples the efficiency of individual and the development of society: Justice Ramana on Family Courts

In the two-day 1st Regional Training Programme for Sensitization of Family Court Judges in Ranchi, Supreme Court Judge Justice NV Ramana suggested various points that can improve the performance of family courts in India. He suggested changes on institutional, legislative, investigation, prosecution and functionality of the family courts.

  1. Family court should be provided jurisdiction to deal with offences against women relating to marriage under Chapter XX and XXA of IPC.
  2. As sustenance of family is at state, the rigour of Dowry Prohibition Act and section 498 A of IPC needs to be reconsidered.
  3. Summary procedure for family courts requires to be made compulsory.
  4. Inclusion of more scientific measures for the determination of paternity and maternity disputes.
  5. A comprehensive domestic law needs to be enacted further.
  6. Abnormal delays in realization of maintenance to deserted wives and children should be avoided.
  7. Deserted wives and children of non-resident husband/father are really left without any legal remedy due to non-service of notice. In these cases remedial international understanding and convention should be evolved.
  8. Making pre-litigation mediation/ conciliation mandatory before matter is placed before family court.

Suggestion for improvement of investigative machinery

  1. Having separate Mahila courts for exclusively trying offences against women needs to be propagated.
  2. More Mahila police stations need to be established.
  3. Offences against women should be investigated into by woman police officer.

Suggestion for improving the working of family court

  1. The state government in consultation with high courts should make appropriate rules to appoint sufficient number of counselors, psychiatrists and experts to assist the family court.
  2. Family courts should be encouraged to use the liberty laid down in its procedures to arrive at a settlement.
  3. Family court should be made to invariably conduct proceedings in-camera to help parties resolve their disputes in a free atmosphere.
  4. Family court should provide legal assistance to litigations who are not able to engage advocates.
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