26 July 2022 12:42 PM GMT
The Lok Sabha today passed the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to overcome the issue of lack of jurisdiction of Family Courts in the States of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.Though the Government of Nagaland established two Family Courts in September 2008 and the Government of Himachal Pradesh established three Family Courts in February 2019, the same are yet to be brought into force by...
The Lok Sabha today passed the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to overcome the issue of lack of jurisdiction of Family Courts in the States of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
Though the Government of Nagaland established two Family Courts in September 2008 and the Government of Himachal Pradesh established three Family Courts in February 2019, the same are yet to be brought into force by the Central Government vide notification in the Official Gazette as prescribed under Section 1(3) of the Family Courts Act, 1984.
The Amendment Act seeks to amend the Act of 1984 by inserting a proviso in Section 1(3) 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.
Rijiju informed the House that there are five states/UTs in the country that sought notification of Family Courts but did not constitute one. These are: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Goa and Mizoram.
During discussion on the Bill, many members pointed out issues with the existing framework of family courts, including huge pendency of cases.
Addressing these concerns, the Law Minister informed the house that the government is planning to introduce a "Mediation Bill" which will eventually ease the burden of family courts. He added that government has collaborated with NALSA to ensure free legal aid counselling.
Rijiju also made significant remarks with respect to appointment of Judges. "Government doesn't delay appointment of Judges (in SC & HC), we have a clear conscience. When names come to us, and we feel that such a person ought not to be appointed as a Judge, then we (Centre) can't put our sign on such names with closed eyes...Government has machinery at hand, we have information regarding the background of Judges. Collegium doesn't have access to that machinery. There is always a reason behind not approving names sent by Collegium," he said.
It adds that "Every power exercised and function performed, every matter dealt with, every proceeding undertaken, every order, judgment, decree or sentence passed and every other act done by the Family Courts in the States of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland prior to the commencement of the Family Courts (Amendment) Act, 2022 shall be deemed to be validly exercised, performed, dealt with, undertaken, passed or done under the provisions of this Act."
The Petitioner therein stated that as the Central Government has not issued any notification to extend the jurisdiction of Family Courts in the State, such Courts are functioning without jurisdiction and anything done or any action taken under the said Act appears to be void ab initio and the notification issued by the State establishing the Family Courts is ultra vires. The Union of India is impleaded as a party and the matter is pending before that Court.
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