Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has imposed a cost of ₹15,000 on a woman noting that one month was an “unreasonable” time period to decide on applications by the family court considering the heavy load of matters heard by the family court.
The HC was hearing a plea filed by a UK citizen seeking that her 2022 execution plea be decided by the family court within one month.
2021 Order by Royal High Courts, London
The woman informed the HC that she approached the Family Court in December 2022, seeking the execution of an order passed by the Royal High Courts, London, in October 2021. Although she was granted access, the father wasn’t complying with his undertaking to grant her 50% access to her sons, despite one child being diagnosed with ADHD.
She said that the Royal High Court decided her custody plea in just six months, whereas her execution plea has been pending before the family court since December 2022.
The woman’s advocate contended that the parental alienation was now edging towards parental hatred with her sons telling the woman she is bad. The father sought dismissal of her plea before the family court saying that it had been filed under wrong provisions.
Justice Sharmila Deshmukh said it was unreasonable to ask to decide on an execution application in a month. The judge noted that no statistical data was produced to demonstrate unreasonable adjournments and there were no “special circumstances” mentioned to justify the woman’s plea to be taken out of turn.
“No doubt, the issue is a sensitive issue but it needs to be noted that the family court is dealing with those issues in almost every petition. In almost every petition, the litigant is either waiting for maintenance or for access the custody or divorce,” the court observed.
The judge also emphasised that there were very few judges handling matrimonial cases at the Bandra Family Court.
Judge: Family court is bound to follow the procedure
“It also needs to be noted that there are about seven family court judges for the entire city of Mumbai and there is a huge institution of cases. I have no doubt that the family court judges are doing their best to ensure that the matters are taken up, heard, and disposed of,” Justice Deshmukh said.
“The family court is bound to follow the procedure which is being required by law and the same as is well known is time-consuming. The request for deciding the execution application within a period of one month can at the best be said to be very unreasonable.”
The bench directed the petitioner to pay ₹15,000 cost imposed to the District Legal Services Authority, Mumbai.