[GS Paper 2 – Govt. Policies and Interventions]
Context – Parliament recently passed a bill granting statutory cover to family courts set up in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland and retrospectively validating all actions taken by them.
Rajya Sabha passed the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 by a voice vote
- In reply to the discussion on the bill, Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju stressed on the need to have the legislation passed considering the long list of pending cases.
- There are at present 715 family courts in the country with over 11 lakh pending cases, he said, adding the emphasis of the government is to have at least one family court in each district so that there could be speedy disposal of the cases.
- According to the Family Court Act of 1984, it is mandatory for a State government to set up a family court for every city or a town whose population exceeds one million.
Provisions of the Bill
- The Family Courts (Amendment) Bill seeks to insert a provision in sub-section 3 of section 1 to provide for setting up family courts in Himachal Pradesh with effect from February 15, 2019, and in Nagaland with effect from September 12, 2008.
- The bill also seeks to insert a new section 3A to retrospectively validate all actions under the act taken by the governments of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland and the family courts of these states.
- Two family courts were established in Nagaland in 2008 and three in Himachal Pradesh in 2019 through notifications issued by the respective State governments.
- The issue of lack of jurisdiction of the family courts in Himachal Pradesh came to the fore during proceedings of the Himachal Pradesh High Court last year.
- The Family Courts Act was enacted to set up family courts to promote conciliation and secure speedy settlement of disputes related to marriage and family affairs.