Lok Sabha has passed the Family Court (Amendment)Bill 2022 to overcome the lack of jurisdiction and validate the legal authority of Family Courts in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
The government of Nagaland established two family courts in the year 2008 and the Himachal Pradesh government established three family courts in 2019. But their legal jurisdiction was still under question as the states have not received the notification from the Government of India in the form of an official gazette as prescribed under Section 1(3) of the Family Courts Act, 1984.
In the proposed amendment bill, the government seeks to insert 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.
The bill 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.
Under Section 3A, “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.”
Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju also mentioned about the five states and Union Territories — Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Goa and Mizoram — who are waiting for the Union government’s notification of Family Courts but have not constituted one.
While vouching for the benefits of Family Courts Amendment Bill 2022, Kiren Rijiju presented the stats about the number of family courts in India and also the number of pending cases in these family courts.
He stated that there are 715 family courts in the country with 11,49,907 cases pending as of April 31. India has 773 districts in total.
“I am telling you the record till May, 69,464 new cases have been registered,” said Kiren Rijiju, Minister of Law and Justice.
He added, “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.”