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Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022

  • 28 Jul 2022
  • 4 min read

Why in News?

Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 that seeks to amend the Family Courts Act, 1984 to establish family courts in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

What is the Family Courts Act 1984?

  • Establishment of Family Courts:
    • The Family Courts Act, 1984 was enacted for the establishment of Family Courts with a view to promote conciliation, and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs and for related matters.
  • Appointment of Judges:
    • The State Government may, with the concurrence of the High Court, appoint one or more persons to be the Judge or Judges of a Family Court.
  • Association of Social Welfare Agencies:
    • The State Government may provide with a Family Court of:
      • Institutions or organisations engaged in social welfare.
      • Persons professionally engaged in promoting the welfare of the family.
      • Persons working in the field of social welfare.
      • Any other person whose association with a Family Court would enable it to exercise its jurisdiction more effectively in accordance with the purposes of this Act.

What is the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill?

  • It seeks to provide for the establishment of Family Courts in the State of Himachal Pradesh with effect from the 15th February, 2019 and in the State of Nagaland with effect from the 12th September, 2008
  • It also seeks to insert a new Section 3A to retrospectively validate all actions under the said Act taken by the State Government of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland and the Family Courts of those states prior to the commencement of the Family Courts (Amendment) Act, 2022.
  • According to the bill, all orders of appointment of a family court judge, and the posting, promotion or transfer of such a judge under the Act will also be valid in the two States.

What was the Need for the Amendment?

  • There are 715 Family Courts which are established and functioning in 26 States and Union territories, including three Family Courts in the State of Himachal Pradesh and two-Family Courts in the State of Nagaland.
    • However, for Himachal and Nagaland, the Central Government notification was not issued for bringing the said Act into force in these states.
  • The issue of lack of jurisdiction of Family Courts in the State of Himachal Pradesh has been challenged before the High Court of Himachal Pradesh.
    • It was stated that as the Central Government has not issued any notification to extend the jurisdiction of Family Courts in the State of Himachal Pradesh, such Courts are functioning without jurisdiction and anything done or any action taken under the said Act appears to be void ab initio (Having no legal effect from inception).
  • The family courts in Nagaland too were operating without any legal authority since 2008.

Source: IE

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