Judicial Reforms in Family Court, Bangalore-Honorable President of India
NHFS/030810/8 03rd August 2010 / Bangalore
Honorable President of India,
President’s Office, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi – 110011
Subject: Judicial Reforms in Family Court, Bangalore.
About National Family Harmony Society®: “National Family Harmony Society®” NFHS is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) promoting the cause of “family harmony” and “gender equality”. It is registered under “The Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960” and is based in Bangalore. We have branches in more than 16 states and in abroad too. We have approximately 14500 members all over India. To know more about us please visit http://www.family-harmony.org / http://www.498a.org.in.
We seek your personal attention and intervention for Judicial Reforms in Family Court, Bangalore.
Justice Arijit Pasayat, heading a vacation Bench, orally observed that the Hindu Marriages Act “has broken more homes than uniting.” He said: “The growing number of divorce cases in the country is having a disastrous effect on children of families which get broken.” In a lighter vein, he said: “Nowadays even at the time of marriages, anticipatory divorce petitions are being filed.”
The Youth and Vigor lost due to delayed and unending proceedings at the corridors of Justice by the young women and men due to matrimonial discord cannot be recouped. While appreciating the difficulties and constraints faced by The Judiciary in resolving Family Disputes, we would like to highlight the torture and injustices meted out to the litigants and seek your personal intervention to sort out the issues. We feel embarrassed like the Beggers pitying the Donor. With deep regret we invite your kind attention to the patriarchal and gender-biased attitude of the presiding officer’s writ large against the husbands in the matters of awarding maintenance & child custody are driving the men to the extent of committing suicide and losing their valuable lives.
Present status at family court, Bangalore: We understand that thousands of cases, which are many year old are pending disposal before the 4 family courts at Bangalore. In the last 2 years many presiding officers were transferred and one of the family courts did not have a presiding officer for a long time. We give below the sad state of functioning of the Family Court, Bangalore.
1. The concept of amicus curie as envisioned u/s 13 of the Family Courts Act is grossly violated without understanding purport benefit of the clause. The advocates are given a free hand in the name of amicus curie that is expected only to assist the presiding officer. Each party is permitted to engage an advocate in the name of amicus curie which is defeating the very purpose of the legislation. They hijack the issues on procedures and rules besides leading to intimidating atmospheres both to the presiding officer and litigant.
2. The section 10(3) of the Family courts act bestows ample leg room for the presiding officer to have flexible procedures but this provision is hardly used for the benefit of the litigant. Particularly the provision of recording the evidence as gist is not followed and evidence of witnesses are recorded at length.
3. The provision regarding the non applicability of Evidence Act is ignored and elaborate procedures are followed from every available legislation causing unending delays.
4. The rules required to be framed for the Family courts as suggested by the National Commission for Women are ignored leading to anarchy in Family Courts.
5. Almost all cases are consecutively adjourned routinely by a minimum period of 2 months.
6. Knowing very well the trial can be started only after 2-3 years the physical presence of the litigants are religiously insisted upon on every hearing.
7. Interim orders for custody of child or maintenance as a matter of routine is awarded not before many months on filing the application and almost detrimental to the interest of the child as well as the father.
8. When both parties are deliberately lying under oath in the matter of proof of earning, allegations of harassment the presiding officers do not show any inclinations to take action for contempt of court or perjury.
9. The conciliation and mediation procedures under sec 9 of Family Courts Act are more abused only to drag on the proceedings at least for about 6 months as if mediations are mandatory. While mediations become impossible in a 498A IPC case or in adultery or void claims or impotence of parties are mechanically referred to mediations resulting into further escalation of tension & violence.
10. When both parties seek divorce on different grounds/allegations the matter is unnecessarily dragged for years under the illusionary concept that “Family Courts are for Uniting Couples”. It is a futile exercise attempting to unite warring couples.
11. What the relatives and the social circle cannot achieve is sought to be achieved that too by an over burdened presiding officer. Even assuming a few couple could be united; the untold trauma undergone by majority of the other warring couples is to be gone through to understand the crux of the problem raised.
We wish to present the following list of proposals and suggestions to your kind self for Judicial Reforms in Family Court, Bangalore:
- Induct more judges and extend the court timings to late evenings.
- Family courts should start an evening shift in addition to the regular day shift.
- Due to the heavy pendency of the cases Family Courts should operate on Sundays also with additional judges.
- Additional 6 more family courts in addition to the existing 4 family courts should be opened without any further delay to cope up with the huge pendency.
- The Family Courts shall ensure that all matrimonial cases be disposed within a period of Six months.
- The Family Courts to officially suspend the practice of summer vacation to the benches till the time limit of Six months is met.
- The Family Courts to officially state that no new cases to be taken till the old ones are disposed.
- All long-pending (one year and above) cases should be transferred to the Fast Track Courts to dispose of within a time limit.
- Family Court records must be computerized so that old cases can be disposed on a priority basis and cases can be tracked scientifically.
- As there are overload on the court on a particular date and less-load on some dates hence the practice of giving dates in the open court must be stopped. Instead dates must be given by the computer section like in Supreme Court or judges should be given computer training and computers must be installed so that dates are given in a scientific way.
- The tendency of one party to drag the cases to delay the proceeding must be dealt severely with heavy cost and other means.
- Judges must be sensitized to the fact that they are dealing with the cases involving “Human life” that are driven by “emotional issues” in case of matrimonial issues which are very different from a criminal case.
- Presiding officers should initiate Suo Motto Perjury/Contempt of Court proceedings if the litigants are found lying under the oath.
- Counseling should not be insisted in cases criminal cases like 498A IPC/Domestic Violence etc are pending.
- Interim Applications must be disposed in a week.
- Presence of the litigants must not be insisted unless it is absolutely necessary.
Please save the family and thereby save our great Nation to retain India a “Vasudeva Kutumbaham”.
Jai Hind!! With profound respects,
P Suresh, President,
National Family Harmony Society