The Delhi High Court clarified that it lacked the original civil jurisdiction to try matters falling under Section 7 of the Family Courts Act. The Delhi High Court has original jurisdiction in civil matters falling above the prescribed pecuniary limit as per the Delhi High Court Act 1966. The issue was whether such jurisdiction extended to such civil matters which are to be dealt by the Family Courts after the Family Courts Act 1980.
The clarification came in a matter claiming maintenance by the wife from the husband. The husband filed an application for transfer of the matter to an appropriate Family Court. The Court placed reliance on the judgment dated 9.07.2016 passed by the Hon'ble Division Bench of the Delhi High Court on reference in CS (OS) No. 411/2010 & I.A. No. 12186/2010 titled "Amina Bharatram Vs. Sumant Bharatram and Others" held as follows :
All matters enumerated in Explanation to Sub-Section (i) of Section 7 and Section 8 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 shall be exclusively triable by the Family Courts and the jurisdiction of the High Court to the extent it exercises Ordinary Original Civil Jurisdiction in respect of such matters stands excluded by virtue of Section 8 (c)(ii) of the said Act. Such matters listed before this Court shall be transferred to the Family Courts by passing the necessary Orders in this respect on their dates of listing.
It was noted in Amina Bharatram that both the Delhi High Court Act and Family Courts Act contained non-obstante clauses. However, Family Courts Act was a special enactment, inasmuch as it was enacted 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. It was also observed that the reason for enactment of the said Act was to set up a court which would deal with disputes concerning the family by adopting an approach radically different from that adopted in ordinary civil proceedings.
Therefore, it was held that Family Courts Act prevailed over Delhi High Court Act, being a special and later enactment.
It has also been directed that the the Registry, should not accept such matters as enumerated in Explanation to Sub Section (i) of Section 7 and Section 8 of the Family Courts Act, 1984