About the Family Court

.....The Family Courts are established in India with a view to amicably settle family disputes. Many social work organizations, women associations and individuals have urged from time to time for establishment of a forum where the stress would be on conciliation for peaceful settlement of family disputesThe Law commission in its 59 th report in 1974 also expressed a strong urge that certain courts concerning family disputes be established and the rules of procedure to be followed by such courts be much simpler and radically different from the rigid ruled of procedure and evidence. For speedy disposal of disputes concerning family matters, the Parliament enacted the Family Court Act, 1984 in the 35 th year of the Republic of India      The Family Courts Act, 1984 in India was enacted on 14th September, 1984 to provide for the family courts with a view to promoting conciliation in and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs. According to Section 2 (d) of the act, "Family Court" means a family court established under section 3. Section 3 describes the establishment of Family Courts and says that the State Government after consultation with the High Court and by notification shall establish a Family Court for every area of the state consisting of a city or town whose population exceeds ten lakhs and for other areas in the state as it may deem necessary.

.....The matters which are dealt in the Family Court in India are matrimonial relief which includes nullity of marriage, judicial separation, divorce, restitution of conjugal rights, declaration as to the validity of marriage and matrimonial status of the person, property of the spouses or any of them and declaration as to the legitimacy of any person, guardianship of a person or custody of any minor, maintenance including the proceeding under the Cr. P.C.

                In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 21 of the Family Courts Act,1984, the High Court of Orissa is pleased to make rules for Family Courts in the State of Orissa. These rules may be called the Family Courts (Court) Rules, 2010. These rules shall come into force on the date of publication in the Orissa Gazette.i.e 4th April 2010.

Some important rules of family court is necessary for public knowledge are given here under:-

Working Hours:
(i) The office of the Family Court shall be opened daily except authorized holidays for transaction of office work between 10.30 A.M. to 5.00 P.M. with a recess of half an hour between 1.30 P.M. to 2.00 P.M. except in morning sittings when it would be from 7.00 A.M. to P.M., with a recess of half an hour between 10.00 A.M. to 10.30 A.M.

(ii) The Court shall ordinarily commence the day sittings not later than 11 A.M. andrise at 4 P.M. and in case of morning sittings not later than 7.30 A.M. and rise at 12.30 P.M.

(iii) No case relating to Family Court shall be heard on Sundays or holidays gazette under Section 11 (1) of the Orissa Civil Courts Act, 1984.

In respect of vacation as provided in Section 11 (2) of the Orissa Civil Courts Act, arrangement for disposal of urgent matters arising during vacation, shall be made in the following manner:—

(1) Urgent matters to be heard ordinarily in the Court of Judge, Family Court shall be taken up by the officer in the cadre of Orissa Superior Judicial Service (Senior Branch) who would be in-charge of the Judge, Family Court during that period.

(iv) The Family Court shall hold its sitting in open or in camera as determined by it ineach case, but shall hold the proceedings in camera, if either party so desires.

(v) No act of the Family Court shall be invalid by reason of holding or continuing its sitting at any place of its choice or on any holiday or outside normal working hours, when such sitting is informed to the parties in advance.   

(v) No act of the Family Court shall be invalid by reason of holding or continuing its sitting at any place of its choice or on any holiday or outside normal working hours, when such sitting is informed to the parties in advance.   

 Place of Sitting: The Judge of the Family Court may hold sitting at places other than the ordinary place of sitting in consultation with the parties to the proceedings; the provision of the Legal Aid Scheme may be invoked in appropriate cases in the proceedings under the Act.

 Institution of Proceedings :
(a) All proceedings instituted before a Family Court shall be by way of an application as per Form No. 1 appended to these rules which should be duly verified by the petitioner.Interlocutory application in the proceeding to be instituted or already instituted shall be filed in form No.2 after being duly verified by the applicant. The petition in form No. 1 or the interlocutory application in form No. 2 can be in any language falling in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India.
(b) There shall be no court fee or any other fee in respect of any petition or any interlocutory application filed before the Family Court.
(c) In respect of application under Section 125 of Cr.P.C. or other application underChapter IX of the Criminal Procedure Code, the provisions of that Code will apply.

(d) The application may be filed before Family Court as permitted under any law which also includes provisions contained in the following laws, viz.

(i) Chapter IX of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (2 of 1974)
(ii) Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (25 of 1955)
(iii) Maintenance under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (78 of 1956).3
(iv) Guardianship of the person or custody of or access to any minor under the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 (32 of 1956)
(v) Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961) for an order for injunction incircumstances arising out of marital relationship
(vi) Hindu Marriages (Validation of Proceedings) Act, 1960 (19 of 1960)
(vii) Personal law applicable to Muslims including—
(a) Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 (26 of 1937)
(b) Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 (8 of 1939)
(c) Muslim Women (Protection or Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 (25 of 986).
(viii) Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 (3 of 1936) which can be institutedor taken out before the Parsi District Matrimonial Courts constituted under Sections 18 and 20 of the said Act.                                            
(ix) Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 (15 of 1872)
(x) Indian Divorce Act, 1945
(xi) Special Marriage Act, 1954 (43 of 1954)
(xii) Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (19 of 1929)
(xiii) Anand Marriage Act, 1909 (7 of 1909)
(xiv) Arya Marriage Validation Act, 1937 (19 of 1937)
(xv) Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 (33 of 1969)
(xvi) Suits or proceedings relating to Part B States Marriages Validating Act,1952 (1 of 1952)
(xvii) Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 (8 of 1890)

Filing of Petition —A petition or any other application shall be filed with two copies signed by the parties along with as many copies to be sent to all the respondents by an officer designated for this purpose. One copy of such petition or application shall be forwarded by the designated officer of the Family Court to the Counsellor forthwith.
 Notice to Respondent—Notice of the proceeding including interlocutory application shall be issued in Form No.3 appended to these rules along with a copy of the petition or the application as the case may be, in respect of matter under Chapter IX of the Criminal Procedure Code for the summons to appear and answer shall be in Form No.4

The Court shall furnish free of cost to the parties a true copy of the judgment

Officers:- Preference shall be  given to women at the time of posting of Judges in the Family Court subject to availability of suitable women officers in Orissa Superior Judicial Service (Senior Branch) :

The proceedings before the Court shall be heard an disposed of as expeditiously as possible, preferably within 3 months, and in achieving this objecdtive the rules or procedure may not rigidly be adhered to.