Functions and Duties of Family Courts, Working of the welfare organization and counselors attached to Family Court

Working of the welfare organization and counselors attached to Family Court

Before knowing the working of welfare organizations and counselors attached to Family Court we should know what exactly is Family Court, how it was established, what are its objectives, and then the functions of the court to which welfare organization and counselors are part. 

What is Family Court?

Working of the welfare organization and counselors attached to Family Court

Family Courts are the courts which deal with matters relating to marriage and family like divorce, child custody etc. The role of family court is to resolve the family matters through conciliation and settlement, the main goal is to protect the relation before breaking it.  The need to establish Family Court was first pointed out by Lt.Durgabai Deshmukh. She went to China and there studied the concept of Family Court. Section 3 of Family Courts Act, 1984 deals with establishment of Family Court and mentions that the State Government after the consultation with High Court Establish a Family Court in all the areas where the population exceeds one million and where it deems necessary. To enforce the orders of family court the provisions of Civil Procedure Code are applied. 

Objectives of Family Court:

Working of the welfare organization and counselors attached to Family Court

  • To promote conciliation and mediation in disputes relating to marriage.
  • Provide speedy justice and disposal of family cases at the earliest.
  • To preserve family ties.
  • To solve the matters of family within a short period.
Types of cases dealt in family court:
  • Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Access of children
  • Restitution of Conjugal Rights
  • Matrimonial property matter
  • Judicial separation 
  • Degree Nullity of marriage
  • Maintenance
  • Application for injunction in matrimonial matters 
  • Adoption

Procedure of Family Court:

Working of the welfare organization and counselors attached to Family Court

Sec10 of The family court Act,1984 laid the general procedure which is follow by the Family Court. Sec10(1) applies the  provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure,1908, in the suits or proceedings of the family Court and by applying the Code, the family Court shall be deem to be a civil court and shall have powers of such courts. Section 10(2) says that the provision of the Civil Procedure Code,1908are applied in the suits and proceedings of the court. Sec10(3) gives power to the family court to lay down its own procedure according to the circumstances of the suits or proceedings or at the truth of the facts made by one party and refused by the other, intending to arrive at a settlement.

According to Sec11 the proceedings of the family court may be held in camera, if the court wants.

According to Section 14 of the act any report, statement or document, related to the subject matter is admissible under the Indian Evidence Act,1872.  

Duty of court to make reasonable efforts for reconciliation between the parties:

Section 9 of this act prescribes duty of the family court to make effort to promote reconciliation between the parties, sec9(1) at first the court shall convince the parties to resolve the dispute through agreement and for that purpose the court shall follow the procedure prescribed by the High Court or any rules or procedure as the court may deem fit. 

According to sec9(2) if the court feels that there is reasonable probability for the parties to settle, the court can adjourn the proceeding and until the settlement is reach. 

Help from medical and welfare experts:

To promote reconciliation between the parties, Section 12 mentions that Family Court has option to take help from medical services or any other person, whether related to parties or not or any professional will promote the welfare of the family or any other person who can help the court in discharging its function. 

Association of Social Welfare Agencies and Counselors:

According to Section 5 of the Family Court Act, the state government after consulting with the high court makes rules regarding the association of the following persons or institutions with the family court. 

  • Organizations or institutional related to social work.
  • A professional person who will work for the welfare of the family court.
  • Any person who is willing to work in the field of social welfare.
  • Any other person whose presence will ensure the effective working of the family court.

Sec 6 of this act provides that the state government after consulting with the Family Court shall determine the number of counselors, officers and other employers who will help the family court in discharging its functions effectively and shall ensure the presence of such counselors, officers and other employees. 

The Counselor plays an important role in the working of the family court. Most of the cases of the family court can be solve by effective counseling. So, the fair selection of counselors for the family court must be ensure. 

Role of the Lawyers

The act restricts the role of the lawyers and more weightage is given to the counselors in resolving the disputes for a mutual amicable settlement. The English concept of the Adversarial system of adjudication is used in which judges play the role of a neutral arbiter and takes a decision base on the merits of the case present to him/her by the opposing lawyer. The act restricts the role of lawyers as legal experts or amicus curiae to who the court may consult for opinion. The act does away the lawyers to reduce corruption, high proceedings cost, manipulative or subversive tactics, refusal to settle or compromise, and so on. However, to that is a criticism that the court needs lawyers for the fields where the counselors are not expertise. Accordingly, Family Courts have allowed lawyers to represent clients.

Moreover, in reality the role of counselors is mere superficial. Majority of the states do not have adequate availability of counselors, the role of counselors is limit to make out if the dispute can be reconciled, not beyond the preliminary

stage or in the trial of the case. The concept of counselors is new and the judges and lawyers are not oriente to this concept. There exist a wide disparity among state with respect to the process adopted to appoint the counselors, their

remuneration, their roles, their qualification. While some states have used non-governmental organizations, while some have used trained personnel, individual volunteers and even lawyers. 


The parliament enacted The Family Courts Act, 1984 for speedy settlement, fewer expenses and formalities in disputes

relating to family, to make an agreement for the parties to reconcile. However, in reality the main purpose is not being fulfilled, they are not functioning properly towards fulfilling the purpose. There are various reasons behind it like biased counselling, improper infrastructure, lack of clarity of procedure and many other.

There are certain changes require for example as follows:

  • The judges are select base on the qualification of the judges of the district court. However, there should be additional examination based on gender equality and special training should be impart to deal with family matters. 
  • The role of the counselors should be more clear as they focus more on family unions and do not pay much attention to women’s security. They should be train to be neutral while settling disputes. 
  • The suggestions made by the workshop of the National Commission for Women should be incorporate with the Act such as:
  • The procedure prescribed by the act should be simplified by the legislature so that it could be easily understood by a layman;
  • The provision of the Act which grants maintenance should also include the residence of women;
  • Family courts can take assistance from NGOs and other welfare societies to help the court in discharging its functions;
  • The counselors should not be change frequently and they should be train well;
  • A woman should be allowed to file a case in the family court or district court of where she resides not particularly of where the marriage was solemnize or of where the husband is residing.


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