Lok Sabha passes family courts Bill

THE LOK Sabha on Tuesday passed the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 that seeks to amend the Family Courts Act, 1984 to establish 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 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.

Replying to the debate on the Bill, Rijiju said that 11.49 lakh cases were pending in 715 family courts across 26 states and Union Territories at the beginning of May 2022.

Rijiju said the government has called a meeting of the district judges on July 30. This is the first time that a meeting of district judges has been called, he said, adding that the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and other judges of the Supreme Court will be present in the conference. Many issues including matter related to family courts will be discussed, he said.

Discussing the issue of judges’ appointment, he said the government can not approve the appointment of judges without “due diligence”.

“We have the system. The Supreme Court’s collegium doesn’t have that system. The information we have like judges’ background, their activities, their achievements, all these information is available with the government,” Rijiju said. “If we did not approve a name, it is because we had a valid reason. We don’t do this to suppress or stop someone.”

The Law Minister expressed concerns over increasing number of pending court cases, which is about to touch the 5 crore mark.

In all 21 members participated in the debate on the Bill that was passed by a voice vote. Several members from the Opposition parties like Congress were not present in the House.

Initiating the debate, BJP member Sunita Duggal raised the issue of pending court cases. She said the pending cases should be disposed by appointing more and more judges.

JD (U) member Kaushalendra Kumar observed a family court should be established for 10 lakh population in a district but the district population in Bihar and other states now exceeds 20 lakh.

Supporting the Bill, BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab said that under the 1984 law, states can open a court or a number of courts but the ultimate notification has to be done by the Central Government.

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