The Family Courts Amendment Bill, 2022 was passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha. It retroactively validates the existence of three family courts in Himachal Pradesh and two in Nagaland.
The bill also seeks to validate the decisions of the two states as well as the family courts. The Himachal Pradesh family courts in Shimla, Dharmashala, and Mandi will be operational beginning February 15th, 2019.
The Family Courts in Dimapur and Kohima, Nagaland, will be operational retroactively from November 12th, 2008, following the passage of the Bill. The enactment was necessary because it was discovered in link with a case that the central government notifications for these five family courts did not exist.
In response to Bill’s debate in the Lok Sabha, Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju asked the states to establish at least one family court in each district. He stated that legal counseling will be provided at no cost and that efforts are being made in this direction.
He stated that several efforts have been taken to improve the country’s judicial infrastructure and that all types of technological breakthroughs have been made by continuing court trials as during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Minister also told members that a District Judges conference will be held soon in Delhi, where all Family Court issues will be discussed. The minister also assured the members that efforts would be made to address the children’s issues while the parents went to Family Court.
Sunita Duggal of the BJP started the debate in favor of the Bill. The JDU’s Koushalendra Kumar has asked the government to take steps to expedite the trials of over 11 lakh pending cases in over 700 family courts all over the country.
The BJD’s Bhartruhari Mehtab emphasized the importance of properly interpreting the proposed amendments. Dr. S Sanjiv Kumar of the YSR Congress party emphasized the importance of comprehensive legal reforms.
He also stated that when a family dispute is resolved in Family Court, provisions should be made to care for the elderly and children. He also recommended that family court judges receive training in having to deal with family problems.
According to Ritesh Pandey of the BSP, there is a need to increase women’s participation in the judicial system so that the proportion of women judges in family courts increases.
Former Union Minister Rajeev Pratap Rudy and PP Chowdhary were among those who participated in the bill debate.