The Kerala High Court has clarified that family courts have the jurisdiction to hear original petitions seeking relief under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005..A division bench consisting of Justices Amit Rawal and CS Sudha held the same while dismissing a petition filed by a man (petitioner) who claimed that only judicial magistrates can hear original petitions under the Domestic Violence Act..The Court reasoned that the Family Court Act itself was aimed at curbing multiple proceedings (family or marital disputes). Therefore, the family court is not prevented from hearing original petitions in domestic violence cases, as also evident from the Domestic Violence Act, the Court observed.."Section 26 of the (Domestic Violence) Act do not denude family court to deal with a petition in a claim under Sections 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the Act ... The whole purpose of carving out the Family Court Act is to club various provisions by confining the jurisdiction of one court to prevent multifariousness. This is precisely what has been sought in this case," the Court held. .The matter at hand was tied to a divorce plea filed by a man (petitioner), which was earlier pending before a family court in Alappuzha district.The petitioner's estranged wife later sought a transfer of this divorce case. While doing so, she also filed a fresh petition before a family court in Ernakulam seeking relief under the Domestic Violence Act.The petitioner objected to the wife's plea on the ground that an original petition under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act can only be filed before a judicial magistrate and not before a family court.Despite the petitioner’s objection, the family court at Ernakulam proceeded to consider and pass an order on the matter. This led the petitioner to approach the High Court for relief. .On August 2, the Court appointed Advocate Ashok Kini as the amicus curiae to assist the Court in determining whether family courts have the jurisdiction to hear original petitions under the Domestic Violence Act. The Court has answered this question in the affirmative and upheld the Ernakulam family court's order in the matter.“The order of the trial court rejecting the application based on the appreciation of the provision is perfectly legal and justified and does not suffer from any illegality or perversity warranting any interference of this Court,” the Court said..The High Court also concluded that the petitioner's concerns over the grant of jurisdiction to hear original petitions in domestic violence cases to the family court were "far-fetched." “Similarly, the argument that the relief under Sections 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22 (of the Domestic Violence Act) cannot be granted by the trial court (family court) is also untenable much less opaque, capricious, and hereby rejected,” added the High Court.Therefore, it dismissed the petition. .The petitioner was represented by advocates Sebastian Champappilly, Abraham P Meachinkara, George Cleetus, Annie George and Margaret Maureen Drose.The petitioner's estranged wife and their children were represented by advocates VK Balachandran and Drishya K Prakash.