HC disposes of plea challenging Divorce Act

HC disposes of plea challenging Divorce Act

The High Court on Monday disposed of a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 10A of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869, relating to divorce between members of the Christian community in India. 

A division bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice B V Nagarathna, disposing of the petition, upheld the Kerala High Court’s judgement that had decreed the period of separation from two years to one year. The bench observed that the Supreme Court had given directions that any judgement of any High Court in the country was applicable to the entire populace.

The petitioner had sought directions to reduce the minimum mandatory period of separation for Christian couple seeking divorce from two years to one year. The petitioner had contended that a period of two years as separation period for filing a petition for divorce by mutual consent was discriminatory and was against Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.  
 During the hearing, the petitioner’s advocate submitted that all other marriage and divorce Acts pertaining to Hindus, Parsis and Special Marriage Act have one year of separation period, expect of Christians, which is discriminatory. The advocate representing the Archdiocese of Bangalore submitted that divorces were not recognised, but there were annulments under Roman Catholic churches.

Justice Waghela observed that the religion of the 21st century was freedom and one must not govern the life of other. Religion, State or law should recognise the free will of an individual. Freedom of choice was a basic right of any citizen, he said.

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