While hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a businessman studying law, the Bombay High Court has noted that the state government must take the initiative and provide land to establish more family courts across the state.
The petitioner has said that he has come across “several people who are involved in divorce proceedings and has realised that these proceedings are protracted and stressful for all parties involved… and women suffer the consequences…”
Even as the Maharashtra government has sought time to reply to the PIL, a division bench of Justices AK Menon and MS Karnik, on July 7, said it’s the government’s “job” (to provide land) and noted, “Where is the land? Give us land. We’ll tell you how to build it.”
The plea states that section 3 of the Family Courts Act (FCA) stipulates that the state government, in consultation with the HC, shall establish a family court for every area in a state of a city or town whose population exceeds one million.
Meenaz Kakalia, advocate for the petitioner, said that there is one family court complex in Mumbai, which has seven judges, whereas there are over 5,000 pending cases. As per the 2011 census of Mumbai, there is a need for at least six more judges, said Kakalia. She added that now the requirement may be much higher as per the current population.
“As revealed by the RTI response received by the petitioner, in spite of the fact that Maharashtra has a population of 11.24 crore as per the 2011 census, the total number of family courts in Maharashtra is merely 19, while the total number of family courts required as per law is 39,” reads the plea.