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National

June 20, 2017

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LHC restores Section 7 of Christian Divorce Act 1869

LHC restores Section 7 of Christian Divorce Act 1869

Court says Christian couples can divorce without accusing each other of adultery

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Monday allowed petitions challenging a provision of the Christian Divorce Act, 1869, which requires a Christian couple to use allegation of adultery for dissolution of marriage.

Through a short order, Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said the Christian couples would be able to depart in dignify way without accusing each other of adultery. The chief justice said the court restored section 7 of the Christian Divorce Act 1869 enabling the couples to approach a court of law for dissolution of marriage on ordinary grounds.

The section 7 of the Act was suspended by former president Ziaul Haq through an ordinance leaving no ground for Christian men for divorcing their wives except on adultery charges. Amin Masih had filed a writ petition through Advocate Sheraz Zaka for restoration of the section 7 saying he wanted to divorce his wife but without accusing her of adultery. The counsel argued that the suspended section should be restored according to which the principles of court’s of England would apply as far as family/divorce issues of Christians were concerned. He said by the restoration of section 7 there will be other just and reasonable grounds available in order to seek a divorce by a Christian man. Presently there was only one ground available under section 10 of the Act and it was adultery, which was in conflict with the dignity of a woman.

The lawyer said in UK the Matrimonial Causes Act was now interpreted in a liberal manner providing a cushion to both Christian men and women to part their ways if marriage was an irretrievably broken down or with mutual consent, but this ground was not available for Christians living in Pakistan.

Advocate Zaka contended that since protection of minorities was one of the norm/salient features of Constitution of Pakistan, therefore the omission of section 7 of the Divorce Act 1869 through the ordinance should be declared unconstitutional as well as null and void.

 

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