FAMILY COURTS ACT, 1984

[Act No. 66 of Year 1984, dated 14th. September, 1984]

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: PRELIMINARY

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 as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different States.

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: FAMILY COURTS

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, establish for every area in the  State comprising a 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 local 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.

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.

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.

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.

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