Bill in LS to grant legal cover to family courts in Nagaland
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New Delhi: A bill to grant statutory cover to family courts set up in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland and retrospectively validate all actions taken by them was introduced in Lok Sabha on Monday.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju introduced the Bill in the lower house amid din by opposition members over issues such as rising inflation and Agnipath military recruitment scheme.

The Family Courts Act was enacted in 1984 to set up family courts to promote conciliation and secure speedy settlement of disputes related to marriage and family affairs. There are 715 family courts functioning across 26 states and Union territories in the country.

Two family courts were established in Nagaland in 2008 and three in Himachal Pradesh in 2019 through notifications issued by the respective state governments.

The issue of lack of jurisdiction of family courts in Himachal Pradesh came to the fore during proceedings of the Himachal Pradesh High Court last year.

Another petition in the Himachal Pradesh High Court stated that the central government had not issued any notification extending the Family Court Act to Himachal Pradesh and the state government directives to establish such courts were without any legal authority.

The family courts in Nagaland too were operating without any legal authority since 2008.

As the Family Courts in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland are functional ever since the date of their establishment and all actions taken by the state government as well as the Family Courts are required to be validated and saved, it is proposed to amend the said Act, read the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill introduced by Rijiju on Monday.

The Family Courts (Amendment) Bill seeks to insert a provisio in sub-section 3 of section 1 to provide for the establishment of Family Courts in Himachal Pradesh with effect from the February 15, 2019 and in Nagaland with effect from the 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 governments of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland and the Family Courts of those states.

Setting up family courts and their functioning fall within the domain of the state governments in consultation with the respective high courts.

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