Reforms in Family Law Part 1

This post is on a Legal topic. There is going to be a series of these posts. I will explain about one topic at a time so that it is easy for you to understand. There are total eleven such reforms and I am planning to cover them one at a time in each post. It is going to be useful to many. And for the rest, you know what to do right?

Judicial reforms are the need of the day in the country and reforms in the Family courts are even more urgent. A person can continue living a normal life even if faced with criminal matter or been victim of crime in any fashion be it robbery or assault. However when faced with marital breakdown a person's life is put on hold till the verdict. Hence it is imperative that Marital Problem is given the highest priority and overhauling of system is important.

Judicial reforms is not about tinkering with a few process it needs overhaul in following direction

Change of Laws 

There are too many laws in the country against the husband in civil, criminal and quasi criminal arena which do not have standard procedures of normal laws applied to them examples are the Domestic Violence Act and the Section 498a. There are also multifarious laws for a same relief. There are five laws on maintenance for standard of living from a husband. This needs to change and complete gender equity, equality and fairness be brought about. The laws need to be harmonized and equalized by gender.

Change of Procedures, practices, presumptions and guidelines 

There are multiple procedures which tend to become procedural harassment of the husband and the family. This should change. The heavy procedure need to be lightened and made more litigant friendly. A key example is on handling cases where in a husband (wife) is from out of station. In such a case the standard practice should be to provide two or three continuous dates so that the out of station person can take leave etc. It has become a procedure for the cases to be transferred to the place of wife's liking. This should change and the convenience of a working person should be taken into consideration as there is far more stakeholders who need to be aligned for working spouse. To not allow more then 2 interim application would be useful guideline. There is a legal and social presumption which is best described by the Victim Women Criminal Men Syndrome which needs to change and it's time for the entire system to get out of this trap.

Change in the current Transparency on dates and estimated dates on the court cases.

In India getting a reservation or attending the courts at a short notice puts a burden on litigants and litigants are clearly interested in knowing when will I get my decision .It is imperative that within 2 months the courts provide a schedule of dates and activity that will be conducted so that the litigant is clearly aware of the stages and phases and prepare accordingly. The judiciary can very take the help of project management expertise of the Ex-litigants for this matter. SIFF (Save Indian Family Foundation) is willing to provide this expertise.

USE of the latest Technology

Involve litigants in defining the requirements of the computerization process.

Change in Attitude

The judiciary should not expect to be a great sermons speaking from Ivory tower. They should clearly be aware of the difference in Matrimonial relief like divorce or child custody. The shift in attitude for family related cases are more in the nature of I am here to resolve the disputes and allow the parties to live a happy life. Currently there is an attitude that is felt that one should use laws, procedure, guidelines, practices and spurious arguments everything against a husband seeking relief.
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A Review by Neha who blogs at Neha's blog

comment 1 comments:

BK Chowla, on September 16, 2010 at 11:55 AM said...

You as a Lawyer know more about the details, but, people in general are most disgusted with the judicial system.If you remember, there was a time people used to go "BHAIS" so as to get their cases settled across the table and they trusted the "BHAI"
Laws are now outdated. Maintenance allowance to the wife were formulated when the women were just housewives and not earning members.
But, isn't it the judiciary itself which is delaying the implementation of reforms?

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