The Delhi High Court in its September 15, 2021 order has observed that the family courts are expected to act with due application of mind without being hyper technical, having a litigant friendly approach.
Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh have urged the family courts to aide couples resolve the matrimonial disputes, rather than making it more complex.
The Court was dealing with an appeal against the orders passed by Family Court in a second motion petition pertaining to a matter concerning divorce by mutual consent, reported Live Law.
It was the case of the appellant husband that while moving the First Motion Petition, an error had occurred in the para relating to the territorial jurisdiction of the Family Court. It was thus submitted that the Family Court, after assuming that it has jurisdiction allowed the first motion petition wherein no objection was raised by either of the parties.
However, it was submitted that at the time of dealing with second motion petition, the Family Court raised a hyper technical objection to the territorial jurisdiction by observing that it does not have Jurisdiction.
The appellant pointed out that he was residing within the jurisdiction of the Family Court and, therefore, the Family Court had jurisdiction. It was also pointed out that the Court had already assumed jurisdiction and allowed the First Motion Petition, and, therefore, to raise such an objection at this stage was not permissible.
Delhi High Court
Asking family court judges to be alert and practical, the Delhi High Court remarked,
There is no doubt that there was a drafting error – as extracted herein above, in both these petitions, with regard to the territorial jurisdiction of the Family Court. The relevant paragraph was not drafted with application of mind.
Further observing that objection to the territorial jurisdiction must be raised at the earliest opportunity, the bench said that the Court, having assumed jurisdiction, cannot at a later stage, refuse to exercise its jurisdiction by raising the said objection, when neither party raises it. The court said,
Therefore, merely because the party residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the Family Court was arrayed as the Petitioners, and not the Respondent, would not make any difference.
The court further remarked,
In our view, the approach of the Family Court was narrow, pedantic and mechanical. The Family Court is obliged to function so as to relieve the parties of the suffering that they are going through on account of matrimonial disputes. It is expected to act with due application of mind and without being hyper technical about matters brought before it.
The Family Court should have a litigant friendly approach, and function in the spirit of helping parties resolve their disputes – either mutually, or through the Courts determination. We may also note that senior and experienced Judicial Officers are posted as Principal Judges of the Family Courts, with the expectation that they will display legal acumen and maturity in dealing with matrimonial and custody disputes.
Taking note of the fact that the Family Court failed to exercise its jurisdiction which it was bound to, the Court said,
We, therefore, allow the present appeal and set aside the impugned orders. We restore HMA No. 1701/2020 before the Family Court, Karkardooma Courts, Delhi. The parties shall appear on 22.09.2021 before the Family Court for consideration of the Second Motion Petition.
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