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  India   All India  23 Jan 2017  Wrap-up: Church court divorce void

Wrap-up: Church court divorce void

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jan 23, 2017, 7:21 am IST
Updated : Jan 23, 2017, 7:22 am IST

SC while dismissing a PIL seeking a declaration that divorce granted by churches under Canon law be declared valid.

Supreme Court of India. (Photo: File)
 Supreme Court of India. (Photo: File)

Christian personal law cannot override the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 and the Divorce Act, 1869, the Supreme Court held on Thursday while dismissing a PIL seeking a declaration that divorce granted by churches under Canon law be declared valid. The PIL, filed in 2013, sought a declaration that Canon Law was the personal law of Indian Christians and that decree of dissolution of marriage granted by the ecclesiastical courts are valid and binding.

The petitioner Clar-ence Pais, a former president of the Catholic Asso-ciation of Dakshina Kannada, said that when the court in India recognises dissolution of marriage (by pronouncing the word Talaq three times) under Mohammedan Law — which is personal Law of the Muslims — courts should also recognise for the purpose of divorce, Canon Law as the Personal Law of the Indian Catholics.

This was, opposed by the Centre, which quoting an earlier judgment said personal laws cannot override laws enacted by legislature for seeking divorce. Accepting the Centre’s submission,  Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud cited the 1996 judgment and said when legislature enacts a law even in respect of the personal law of a group of persons following a religion, then such statutory provisions shall prevail and override any personal law or custom prevailing before coming into force of such Act.

Can land be give for shrines? SC to examine
The Supreme Court on Friday decided to examine whether in a secular country like India government lands can be allotted to private organisations for construction of a temple/mosque/church or gurudwara and such allotments are legally valid. A Bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud while posting the matter for final hearing on March 20 asked the apex court Registry to list all connected matters pertaining to lands allotted by various States for construction of religious shrines.

Counsel P.V. Dinesh appearing for the respondent Muslim Cultural Association in this case argued that the allotment did not in any manner affect the secular character of the country. The Bench was hearing a special leave petition filed in 2008 by the Federation of Chennai Suburban Welfare Association challenging the allotment of government lands in 1981 to a Muslim Cultural Association for construction of a mosque. 

Tags: divorce, supreme court, canon law, christian marriage act