Negative or Affirmative declaration doesn’t matter, Family Courts possess jurisdiction to deal with disputes as to matrimonial status of a person
Civil Appeal No. 4500 of 2016
Bench: Justice Kurian Joseph; Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman
Case Brief: In the present case, the bench is tabled with the appeal filed by the appellant who has challenged the order of the High Court. In the facts of the case, the appellant had filed a civil suit before the Family Court in the State of Chhattisgarh where he sought a declaration to the effect that the Respondent is not his legally married wife. Moreover, the learned Family judge by its judgement in the Civil Suit declared that the said respondent was not legally married wife of Appellant. As such, feeling aggrieved the Respondent filed challenge before the High Court of Chhattisgarh and in result the said high court’s concerned bench by its impugned order in the year 2015 allowed the appeal of the respondent and held that the Family Court lacked jurisdiction to deal with the matter. As such, the said declaration which the Family Court made earlier, was declared by the High Court as was ‘negative’ was outside the jurisdiction of the Family Court.
The Bench after analysing the section 7 and section 8 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 observed that a suit or a proceeding for a declaration as to the validity of both marriage and matrimonial status of a person is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Family Court, as the provisions under section 8 of the said Act excluding all those jurisdictions covered under section 7 of the Act from the purview of the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts. Moreover, the bench also observed that in any case where the declaration is sought as to the dispute on the matrimonial status of any person, the same can be done before the Family court only. Moreover, the affirmative relief or a negative relief makes no difference to it and the ‘declaration regarding the matrimonial status’ is only important. And the view adopted by this bench is endorsed by the Section 20 of the Act which is saying that the Family Courts Act, 1984 is having overriding effect on other laws. Thus, the bench allowed the appeal filed by appellant and the High Court’s impugned order is set aside with the direction to remit the case back to the High Court for deciding the same on merits by hearing the same afresh. And the decision is sought by this bench from the High Court expeditiously preferably within a period of 6 months.
Read the Judgement: Balram Yadav Vs. Fulmaniya Yadav