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Delhi Family Courts

Delhi Family Court

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The need to establish the Family Courts was first emphasized by late Smt Durga Bai Deshmukh after her visit to China in the year 1953, where she had the opportunity to study the working of Family Courts. She discussed the subject with Hon’ble Mr. Justice M.C. Chagla of Bombay High Court and also Hon’ble Mr. Justice P.B. Gajendragadkar, then the Judge, Bombay High Court. She also discussed the matter of setting up of the Family Courts with the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Several women associations, welfare organizations, and individuals also mounted pressure for setting-up of the Family Courts to provide a forum for speedy settlement of family relates disputes. The emphasis was on a non- adversarial method of resolving family disputes and promoting conciliation and securing speedy settlement of dispute relating to marriage and family affairs.

The Law Commission in its 59th report (1974) also recommended for setting-up of special courts where rules of procedure would be simpler. The Law Commission also emphasized that such courts may adopt an approach radical steps distinguished from the existing civil courts and that such courts should make reasonable efforts for settlement before the commencement of the trial. In 1975, the ‘Committee on the Status of Women’ recommended that all matters concerning the ‘family’ be dealt with separately.

In 1984, the Family Courts Act was passed and it came into force on September 14, 1984. The objective was to take family and marital disputes away from the overcrowded intimidating and congested environment of traditional courts of law and bring them to congenial and sympathetic surroundings. The aim was ‘conciliation’ between the estranged family members and not ‘confrontation’.

The Family Courts Act, 1984 could not be implemented in Delhi for a long period of 25 years due to different reasons. To implement the Family Courts Act, 1984, a committee headed by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vijender Jain (as his Lordship then was) was constituted in the Delhi High Court in the year 2006. The work was commenced and continued with full devotion and sincerity. With the passage of time, the committee was guided by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Pradeep Nandrajog at different points of time. Finally Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.P. Shah, the then Chief Justice of Delhi High Court constituted a committee in November 2008 comprising Hon’ble Mr. Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Muralidhar and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Manmohan, Judges of Delhi High Court. It was due to the zeal, enthusiasm, and hard work of the committee that the first Family Court in Delhi was set-up at Dwarka District Court Complex on 15.05.2009.

Thereafter, four more Family Courts were established at the District Courts Complex, Rohini under the guidance of the committee comprising Hon’ble Mr. Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Manmohan and Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.K. Pathak, Judges of Delhi High Court and were inaugurated on 10.02.2010.

The sixth Family Court has been set up at District Court Complex, Dwarka and started functioning on 08.03.2011. Two more courts have also been set up at Saket in May 2011.