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FAMILY COURTS ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 66 of 1984


  • Chapter I
  • Chapter II
  • Chapter III
  • Chapter IV
  • Chapter V. Appeal and Revision
  • Chapter VI
  • Act nº 66 of 1984

Preamble

THE FAMILY COURTS ACT, 1984

[Act, No. 66 of 1984]

[14th September, 1984]

PREAMBLE

An Act 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.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-fifth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--

Chapter I

Section 1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Family Courts Act, 1984.

(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(3) It shall come into force on such date 1as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different States.

1. Came into force in-RAJASTHAN-on 19-11-1985, vide No. 79/17/85, dated 18th November, 1985, Gazette of India, Pt. II, Section 1.

UTTAR PRADESH-on 2-10-1986, vide No. 79/11/86, dated 4th September, 1986, Gazette of India, Pt. II, Section 1.

TAMIL NADU-on 2-10-1986, vide No. 79/8/86, dated 18th September, 1986, Gazette of India, Pt. II, Section 1.

UNION TERRITORY OF DELHI-on 19-11-1986, vide S.O. 863(E), dated 18th November, 1986, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II Section3 (ii).

MAHARASHTRA-on 1-12-1986, vide S.O. 944, (E), dated 5th December, 1986, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, section 3(ii).

UNION TERRITORY OF ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS-on 19-11-1986, vide No. 79/22/86, dated 19th November, 1986, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 1.

UNION TERRITORY OF PONDICHERRY-on 1-5-1987, vide G.S.R. 459 (E), dated 29th April, 1987, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 3(i).

MADHYA PRADESH-on 19-11-1986, vide No. 79/6/86, dated 14th November, 1986, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 1.

SIKKIM-on 2-10-1987, vide No. 79/20/86, dated 14th September, 1987, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 1.

KARNATAKA-on 25-5-1987, vide G.S.R. 695 (E), dated 15th May, 1987, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 3(i).

ORISSA-on 1-5-1989, vide S.O. 321, (E), dated 27th April, 1989, Gazette of India, Extra, Pt. II, Section 3(ii).

GOA-on 16-4-1990, vide S.O. 328(E), dated 12th April, 1990, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 3(ii).

KERALA-on 21-10-1989, vide No. 79/5/86, dated 17th October, 1989, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 1.

WEST BENGAL-on 1-11-1991, vide No. 79/12/86, dated 1st November, 1991, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 1.

ASSAM-on 2-10-1991, vide No. 79/2/86, dated 30th November, 1991, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 1.

BIHAR-on 10-12-1991, vide S.O. 838 (E), dated 6th December, 1991, Gazette of India, Extra. Pt. II, Section 3(ii).

MANIPUR-on 3-2-1992, vide S.O. 91(E), dated 30th January, 1992, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 3(ii).

HARYANA-on 2-11-1992, vide G.S.R. 748 (E), dated 24th October, 1992, Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, Section 3(ii).

Mizoram-on-30-03-2009, vide S.O. 2196 (E), dated 27th August, 2009., Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II. section 3(ii).


Section 2. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--

(a) Judge" means the Judge or, as the case may be, the Principal Judge, Additional Principal Judge or other Judge of a Family Court;

(b) notification" means a notification published in the Official Gazette;

(c) prescribed means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(d) Family Court" means a Family Court established under section 3;

(e) all other words and expressions used but not defined in this Act and defined in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in that Code.

Chapter II

Section 3. Establishment of Family Courts

(1) For the purpose of exercising the jurisdiction and powers conferred on a Family Court by this Act, the State Government, after consultation with the High Court, and by notification,--

(a) shall, as soon as may be after the commencement of this Act, established for every area in the State comprising of city or town whose population exceeds one million, a Family Court;

(b) may establish Family Courts for such other areas in the State as it may deem necessary.

(2) The State Government shall, after consultation with the High Court, specify, by notification, the total limits of the area to which the jurisdiction of a Family Court shall extend and may, at any time, increase, reduce or alter such limits.

Section 4. Appointment of Judges

(1) 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.

(2) When a Family Court consists of more than one Judge,--

(a) each of the Judges may exercise all or any of the powers conferred on the Court by this Act or any other law for the time being in force;

(b) the State Government may, with the concurrence of the High Court, appoint any of the Judges to be the Principal Judge and any other Judge to be the Additional Principal Judge;

(c) the Principal Judge may, from time to time, make such arrangements as he may deem fit for the distribution of the business of the Court among the various Judges thereof;

(d) the Additional Principal Judge may exercise the powers of the Principal Judge in the event of any vacancy in the office of the Principal Judge or when the Principal Judge is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause.

(3) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge unless he--

(a) has for at least seven years held a judicial office in India or the office of a member of a Tribunal or any post under the Union or a State requiring special knowledge of law; or

(b) has for at least seven years been an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession; or

(c) possesses such other qualifications as the Central Government may, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of India, prescribe.

(4) In selecting persons for appointment as Judges,--

(a) every endeavour shall be made to ensure that persons committed to the need to protect and preserve the institution of marriage and to promote the welfare of children and qualified by reason of their experience and expertise to promote the settlement of disputes by conciliation and counselling are selected; and

(b) preference shall be given to women.

(5) No person shall be appointed as, or hold the office of, a Judge of a Family Court after he has attained the age of sixty-two years.

(6) The salary or honorarium and other allowances payable to, and the other terms and conditions of service of a Judge shall be such as the State Government may, in consultation with the High Court, prescribe.

Section 5. Association of social welfare agencies, etc.

The State Government may, in consultation with the High Court, provide, by rules, for the association, in such manner and for such purposes and subject to such conditions as may be specified in the rules, with a Family Court of--

(a) institutions or organisations engaged in social welfare or the representatives thereof;

(b) persons professionally engaged in promoting the welfare of the family;

(c) persons working the field of social welfare; and

(d) 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.

Section 6. Counsellors, officers and other employees of Family Courts

(1) The State Government shall in consultation with the High Court, determine the number and categories of counsellors, officers and other employees required to assist a Family Court in the discharge of its functions and provide the Family Court with such counsellors, officers and other employees as it may think fit.

(2) The terms and conditions of association of the counsellors and the terms and conditions of service of the officers and other employees, referred to in sub-section (1), shall be such as may be specified by rules made by the state government.

Chapter III

Section 7. Jurisdiction

(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, a Family Court shall--

(a) have and exercise all the jurisdiction exercisable by any district court or any subordinate civil court under any law for the time being in force in respect of suits and proceedings of the nature referred to in the explanation; and

(b) be deemed, for the purposes of exercising such jurisdiction under such law, to be a district court or, as the case may be, such subordinate civil court for the area to which the jurisdiction of the Family Court extends.

Explanation.--The suits and proceedings referred to in this sub-section are suits and proceedings of the following nature, namely:--

(a) suit or proceeding between the parties to a marriage for a decree of nullity of marriage (declaring the marriage to be null and void or, as the case may be, annulling the marriage) or restitution of conjugal rights or judicial separation or dissolution of marriage;

(b) a suit or proceeding for a declaration as to the validity of a marriage or as to the matrimonial status of any person;

(c) a suit or proceeding between the parties to a marriage with respect to the property of the parties or of either of them;

(d) a suit or proceeding for an order or injunction in circumstance arising out of a marital relationship;

(e) a suit or proceeding for a declaration as to the legitimacy of any person;

(f) a suit or proceeding for maintenance;

(g) a suit or proceeding in relation to the guardianship of the person or the custody of, or access to, any minor.

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, a Family Court shall also have and exercise--

(a) the jurisdiction exercisable by a Magistrate of the First Class under Chapter IX (relating to order for maintenance of wife, children and parents) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974); and

(b) such other jurisdiction as may be conferred on it by any other enactment.

Section 8. Exclusion of jurisdiction and pending proceedings

Where a Family Court has been established for any area,--

(a) no district court or any subordinate civil court referred to in sub-section (1) of section 7 shall, in relation to such area, have or exercise any jurisdiction in respect of any suit or proceeding of the nature referred to in the Explanation to that sub-section;

(b) no magistrate shall, in relation to such area, have or exercise any jurisdiction or power under Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974);

(c) every suit or proceeding of the nature referred to in the Explanation to sub-section (1) of section 7 and every proceeding under Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974),--

(i) which is pending immediately before the establishment of such Family Court before any district court or subordinate court referred to in that sub- section or, as the case may be, before any magistrate under the said Code; and

(ii) which would have been required to be instituted or taken before such Family Court if, before the date on which such suit or proceeding was instituted or taken, this Act had come into force and such Family Court had been established

shall stand transferred to such Family Court on the date on which it is established.

Chapter IV

Section 9. Duty of Family Court to make efforts for settlement

(1) In every suit or proceeding, endeavour shall be made by the Family Court in the first instance, where it is possible to do so consistent with the nature and circumstances of the case, to assist and persuade the parties in arriving at a settlement in respect of the subject-matter of the suit or proceeding and for this purpose a Family Court may,subject to any rules made by the High Court, follow such procedure as it may deem fit.

(2) If, in any suit or proceeding, at any stage, it appears to the Family Court that there is a reasonable possibility of a settlement between the parties, the Family Court may adjourn the proceedings for such period as it thinks fit to enable attempts to be made to effect such a settlement.

(3) The power conferred by sub-section (2) shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of any other power of the Family Court to adjourn the proceedings.

Section 10. Procedure generally

(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act and the rules, the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) and of any other law for the time being in force shall apply to the suits and proceedings [other than the proceedings under Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)] before a Family Court and for the purposes of the said provisions of the Code, a Family Court shall be deemed to be a civil court and shall have all the powers of such court.

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act and the rules, the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) or the rules made thereunder, shall apply to the proceedings under Chapter IX of that Code before a Family Court.

(3) Nothing in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall prevent a Family Court from laying down its own procedure with a view to arrive at a settlement in respect of the subject-matter of the suit or proceedings or at the truth of the facts alleged by one party and denied by the other.