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The family courts must be unbiased or neutral because they operate in a similar fashion to regular civil courts: Kerala High Court

The family courts must be unbiased or neutral because they operate in a similar fashion to regular civil courts is upheld by the Kerala High Court in the case Nisha Haneefa v. Abdul Latheef through the Division Bench of A. MuhamedMustaque and Sophy Thomas, JJ

FACTS OF THE CASE

In this case, there was a claim centered on recovering gold ornaments and realizing patrimony. Consequently, the Family Court authorized an investigation after suspecting a conspiracy between the husband and wife against the husband’s father and mother.

The main goal of the current petition was to overturn the father of the husband, the second respondent, who had cancelled the settlement document that had been signed in his favour.

ISSUE RAISED

Do Family Courts have to continue serving as an impartial arbiter of the parties’ actual conflict?

JUDGEMENT

The Kerala High Court held that it is abundantly evident from a combined reading of Sections 9, 10, and 14 that the Family Court is not a carbon copy of a regular Civil Court. The Court clarified that the Family Court should only design a procedure for a fair resolution of the proceedings in a dispute brought before it.Additionally, the Family Court has complete discretion in establishing a fair process for the swift resolution of issues brought before the Court.

The High Court further stated that the parties’ consent is not necessary for the Family Court to obtain the facts. Any strategy that reflects fairness is given legal protection if it does so in some way. The family courts must be unbiased or neutral because they operate in a similar fashion to regular civil courts.

The Court said that the ability of the Family Court to elicit the truth was examined in the Delhi High Court’s decision in Kusum Sharma v. Mahinder Kumar Sharma, 2015, which stated that it is the Court’s responsibility to ascertain the truth regarding the true income of the parties and to issue the proper judgments.

Regarding the current situation, the Court noted that the Family Court had every right to issue an order directing public officers to ascertain the truth.Because the Family Court did not commit a jurisdictional error and the order was within its authority, the Court saw no need to interfere with the impugned order.

The Court observed that by contesting the orders using Article 227 of the Constitution, the sad state of the Family Court’s operation is frequently depicted before this Court. The Family Court is more preoccupied with issuing interim orders that focus on rights, obligations, or conflicts than it is with the parties who are in front of it, according to the Court, therefore the goal of limited the challenge to the final decision has been lost.

In response to the posed query, the Court elaborated, adding that while it is true that Family Court judges must be unbiased or neutral, proceedings or processes are not mandated to be away from or averse to making inquiries to ascertain the true nature of the conflict.

Consequently, the petition was denied.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL

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