Suits relating to matters concerning the family Order 32-A
In this article, we will discuss the provision of the Order 32-A of the CPC (suits concerning family matters). In this, we will discuss what is a family? What are the situations where this order applies? Can a suit or proceeding to which this order applies, be held in camera? Is there any duty of the court to make efforts for settlement? Etc.
Order 32-A was incorporated in the Civil Procedure Code in 1976 on the recommendations of the Law Commission in its fifty-fourth report. This order attempts to highlight the need for adopting a different approach where matters related to the family are at issue, including the need for efforts to bring about an amicable settlement.
Application of the Order (Rule 1):-
The provisions of this Order shall apply to suits or proceedings relating to family matters.
The provisions of this Order shall apply to the following suits or proceedings, which are:-
a. For matrimonial relief, including declaration as to the validity of a marriage or as to the matrimonial status of any person;
b. For a declaration as to the legitimacy of any person;
c. In relation to the guardianship of the person or the custody of any minor or other members of the family, under a disability;
d. For maintenance;
e. As to the validity or effects of an adoption;
f. Instituted by a member of the family, relating to wills, intestacy, and succession;
g. Relating to any other matter concerning the family in respect of which the parties are subject to their personal law.
What is the meaning of the Family?:-
Rule 6 define the meaning of the family and says that for the purposes of this order, each of the following shall be treated as constituting a family namely:-
a. i. a man and his wife living together,
ii. Any child or children, being an issue of theirs; or of such man or such wife and maintained by such man and wife;
b. a man not having a wife or not living together with his wife, any child or children, being an issue of his, and maintained by him;
c. a woman not having a husband or not living together with her husband, any child or children being an issue of hers, and maintained by her;
d. a man or woman and his or her brother, sister, ancestors or lineal descendant living with him or her; and
e. any combination of one or more of the groups specified in clause (a), clause (b), clause (c) or clause (d) of this rule.
Can proceeding be held in camera?:-
Family counseling as one of the methods for achieving the object of preservation of the family, hence, should be kept in the forefront. Therefore, proceeding in such suit may not always be held in open court.
In every suit or proceeding to which this order applies, the proceeding may be held in camera if
a. The court so desires and
b. Shall be so held if either party so desires.
Is there any duty of the court to make efforts for settlement:-
Yes, Under Order 32-A Rule 3 it is the court who shall make the endeavor in the first instance of the suit, where it is possible to do so in accordance with the nature and circumstances of the case, to assisting the parties in getting settled in relation to the subject matter of the suit.
And if at any stage of the suit or proceeding it appears to the court that there is a reasonable possibility of a settlement between the parties, the court may adjourn the proceeding for a period as it thinks fit to enable attempts to be made to effect such a settlement.