Divorce Act to be amended to halve separation period: Govt

Divorce Act to be amended to halve separation period: Govt

Divorce Act to be amended to halve separation period: Govt

The government today said a proposal is ready to amend the Divorce Act to halve the separation period for Christian couples seeking to file for divorce by mutual consent.

In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said the government plans to amend Section 10 A of the 1869 law to reduce the minimum mandatory period of separation from two years to one year to bring uniformity with other personal laws.

The move comes against the backdrop of a Supreme Court ruling and demands by the community.

The separation period under Hindu Marriage Act, Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act and the Special Marriage Act is one year.

Section 10A(1) of the Divorce Act, added through an amendment in 2001, says that a couple seeking divorce should be living separately for a period of "two years or more".

Against the backdrop of the Supreme Court order delivered in April last and demands by members of the community, the Law Ministry has decided to move the proposal to reduce the separation period.

Questioning the existing law, the Supreme Court had urged the Centre to make necessary amendments. "Should Christians stay separated for minimum two years when the period prescribed for others is one year? It does not make sense to us. It is a pure question of law and you (government) should have acted on your own," a bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and A M Sapre had observed.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by a Delhi-based person while delivering the order.
Some High Courts have also struck down the provision of two-year separation.

Law Commission has on several occasions also recommended amendments to the Divorce Act to make it more women-friendly.

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