SC admits plea on courts upholding church annulments

  • Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 10, 2015 07:28 IST

The Supreme Court Monday strongly advocated keeping religious beliefs away from civil disputes in families, but at the same time agreed to examine a petition asking it to direct civil courts to uphold a church court’s order nullifying marriage of a Christian couple.

As per an earlier SC verdict, Christians have to move a civil court for divorce. But their personal law permits them to get marriage nullified by a church court which, in the wake of the top court order, is not valid.

Senior counsel Soli Sorabjee, is representing petitioner Clarence Pais, 84 — who claims that if courts in India recognise dissolution of marriage under Mohammedan Law, it should also recognise dissolution of marriage by Christians under Code of Canon Law — the personal law of Catholics.

The bench, headed by justice Vikramjit Sen, expressing concern at the growing number of honour killings and said allowing the PIL could open a Pandora’s Box as people from all religions would approach the court requesting to let them carry along their personal law. “We have to stamp out religion from civil law,” justice Sen noted. The bench asked additional solicitor general to file a response to the PIL and gave four weeks to the centre to respond.

The matter was posted for further hearing to April 8.

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