Amid protests, Rajya Sabha passes family courts, Bill

The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to give statutory cover to family courts established in Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland. The bill was passed amid protests and sloganeering by the opposition over the alleged misuse of central agencies.

As the bill was being introduced by Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh tried to raise an issue, but it was rejected by Vice President Harivansh Narayan Singh, who said that the one-point order was only “in may be raised “concerning the business of the House at this time”.

A point of order is essentially an objection that the proceeding is in violation of a rule of the House.

TMC MP Derek O Brien said that subject to the Constitution and rules of Parliament, every member has the freedom of expression. In response, Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav said, “The members have freedom of speech. The Constitution does not give freedom to ‘Hungama’.

While discussing the bill, BJP MP Saroj Yadav said that western concepts are slowly encroaching on Indian values, especially in family-related issues.

“We need more family courts to ensure that matrimonial matters are addressed expeditiously. We have to protect Indian culture. One of the Western concepts we often hear about is same-sex marriage. It is against Indian culture.”

Law Minister Rijiju said that at present there are 715 family courts in 26 states and union territories across the country, including Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland, where the Bill seeks to extend legal support to the already existing courts.

“If we do not bring a law to extend the statutory powers to three family courts in Himachal Pradesh and two family courts in Nagaland, thousands of pending cases will be affected,” the minister said.

According to the non-profit PRS, the establishment of family courts in both states will be retrospectively valid and all actions taken under the Act, including the appointment of judges, and orders and judgments passed by the courts will also be considered. Valid retrospectively from these dates.

The minister said that he has also appealed to the district judges of the country to ensure that matrimonial disputes are resolved expeditiously. “In India, marriage is not just about individuals but about communities. There should be a family court in every district of the country.

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