Supreme Court explains that Family Courts do not have power to try cases under IPC

Justice V. Ramasubramanian, in the case of Sunita Manoj Sinh v. State of Maharashtra held that Family Court does not have power to try cases falling under the substantive part of the Indian Penal Code.

In the present case, the petitioner had sought to transfer a criminal case registered in the Court of Judicial Magistrate, Thane, Maharashtra, to a Family Court in Vadodara, Gujarat. It was procedurally corrected that this case would be transferred from a Family Court to a competent criminal court by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Vadodara.

This matter came to light as Family Judge, Vadodara, wrote letter to the Supreme Court registry and brought this mistake to its notice.

Under Section 7 of the Family Courts Act, a family court exercises jurisdictions as any district court in the matters of:

  1. A suit for nullity of marriage, or restitution of conjugal rights, or judicial separation, or marriage dissolution.
  2. A suit for declaring validity of a marriage.
  3. A dispute with regard to property.
  4. An injunction or order arising out of a marital relationship.
  5. A suit for declaration of legitimacy of a person.
  6. A suit for maintenance. (Under Chapter IX of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Family Court has power to deal with cases relating to maintenance of wife, children and parents)
  7. A suit for guardianship/custody of a minor.

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