A division bench of Delhi High Court passed these guidelines in order to achieve speedy disposal of Matrimonial and family related matters.
From Para 6,
K.S.Sumi Mol Vs Suresh Kumar E.K. on 31 Jul 2023
6. In view of the above, and in the absence of any specific Rules regarding the speedy disposal of cases relating to marriage and family affairs within a time frame, we hereby lay down the guidelines for strict observance by all the Family Courts in Delhi, till such time rules are formulated by the State Government in consultation with the High Court of Delhi.
a. Issue of Summons: When a suit has been duly instituted, a summons may be issued to the defendant to appear and answer the claim and to file the written statement of his defence, if any, within thirty days from the date of service of summons on that defendant:
Provided that no such summons shall be issued when a defendant has appeared at the presentation of plaint and admitted the plaintiff‟s claim:
Provided further that where the defendant fails to file the written statement within the said period of thirty days, he shall be allowed to file the written statement on such other day, as may be specified by the Court, for reasons to be recorded in writing and on payment of such costs as the Court deems fit, but which shall not be later than one hundred twenty days from the date of service of summons and on expiry of one hundred twenty days from the date of service of summons.
Provided further, the time taken for conciliation, mediation or interaction shall be excluded.
b. Inspection: (1) All parties shall complete inspection of all documents disclosed within thirty days of the date of filing of the written statement. The Court may extend this time limit upon application at its discretion, but not beyond thirty days.
(2) Any party to the proceedings may seek directions from the Court, at any stage of the proceedings, for inspection or production of documents by the other party, of which inspection has been refused by such party or documents have not been produced despite issuance of a notice to produce.
(3) Such application shall be disposed of within thirty days of filing such application, including filing replies and rejoinders (if permitted by Court) and hearing.
(4) If the above application is allowed, inspection and copies thereof shall be furnished to the party seeking it, within five days of such order.
(5) No party shall be permitted to rely on a document, which it had failed to disclose or of which inspection has not been given, save and except with leave of Court.
c. Admission and Denial of Documents: Each party shall submit a statement of admissions or denials of all documents disclosed and of which inspection has been completed, within fifteen days of the completion of inspection or any later date as fixed by the Court.
d. Case Management Hearing: The court shall hold the first Case Management Hearing, not later than four weeks from the date of filing of affidavit of admission or denial of documents by all parties to the suit.
In a Case Management Hearing, after hearing the parties, and once it finds that there are issues of fact and law which require to be tried, the court shall-
(i) frame the issues after examining pleadings, documents and documents produced before it, and on examination conducted by the court under Rule 2 of Order X, if required;
(ii) List the number of witnesses to be examined by the parties;
(iii) Fix the schedule of the dates and evidence led by parties with all endeavour to complete the evidence in six months.
(iv) Fix the date for oral arguments within ten days and it shall be open for the Court to limit the time for oral submissions having regard to the nature and complexity of the matter.
(v) Fix the date for filing the written arguments and a party shall, within four weeks prior to commencing the oral arguments, submit concisely and under distinct headings written arguments in support of their case to the Court and such written arguments shall form part of the record and shall be filed within fifteen days;
(vi)No adjournment shall be granted for the purpose of filing the written arguments unless the Court, for reasons to be recorded in writing, considers it necessary to grant such adjournment.
(vii)Set time limits for parties and their advocates to address oral arguments.
In fixing dates or setting time limits, the court shall ensure that the arguments are closed not later than two months from the date when the evidence of the parties was concluded.
(viii)The interim applications for ‘maintenance pendente lite’, ‘interim custody’ and all other miscellaneous applications relating to marriage/family affairs shall be decided within 90 days from the date of filing.
e. Judgment & Decree: (1) The court, shall, within thirty days of the conclusion of arguments, which shall not extend beyond sixty days, pronounce judgment and copies thereof shall be issued to all the parties to the dispute through electronic mail or otherwise.”