Family courts don’t have the plenary powers to do away with the compulsory procedural requirement: SC

Recently, the Supreme Court observed that Family Courts do not have plenary powers to do away with compulsory procedural requirements.

The Bench observed that the family court is expected to follow the procedure known to the law, like formal pleadings from the parties, the framing of issues, recording evidence, and rendering a decision after hearing the sides.

Background: 

In the instant case, the court allowed the wife’s application for transposing her as the petitioner in a petition filed by the husband to declare him as the guardian of baby Raina after the husband abandoned the petition. On the very same day, the mother was appointed as the sole guardian of the minor child.

Observations of the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court observed that notice of transposition application was not served on the husband. The Court remarked that the Family Court is expected to give notice to respective parties and give them sufficient time and opportunity to present their side in the form of evidence and pleadings.

Hon’ble Court further observed that the Family Court exceeded its jurisdiction by hastening the case and should have dealt with it, as per law. The Family Court does not have plenary powers to do away with mandatory procedural requirements, which guarantees transparency and fairness. The Court is obliged to resolve claims of the parties and must adhere to the laws and procedures.

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Decision:

The Court allowed the appeal and directed revival and remand of the Guardianship petition. They also directed the Family Court to consider all the applications afresh.

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