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Lahore: Court hears case over restoration of Christian Divorce Act to its previous form

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Lahore High Court’s division bench heard the case over restoration of the Christian Divorce Act to its previous form. The bench sought Parliament’s progress with regard to the legislation concerning Christian Divorce Act 1869.

Christian Divorce Act

The bench headed by Justice Aysha A Malik heard the Intra Court Appeal (ICA). Appellant Emmanuel Francis had challenged former Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah’s verdict which allowed Christian men to divorce women for reasons other than adultery. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali described that the ordinance imposed by Zia regime was in defiance to basic constitutional rights; therefore restoring Section 7 which allows Christian couples to part their ways on other grounds than adultery only.

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During the hearing, Additional Advocate General Anwar Hussain told the court that LHC’s single bench did not restore the entire law, but only Section 7 of the Christian Divorce Law was restored. He told the court that the Christian women must not be marooned; in case the parliament failed to fulfill its obligation. He maintained that judiciary’s role would be shelved if single bench’s decision was set aside.

Justice Ayesha A Malik inquired whether a judge of the Lahore High Court enjoys powers to restore a law repealed by the Parliament. She remarked that the court was fully aware of problems Christian women are facing adding that the parliament must play its role to find a solution to serious issue.

Emmanuel Francis had maintained that the Christian Divorce Act must be restored to its previous form as in line with the Holy Bible only ground for divorce was adultery. He contended that restoration of Section 7 was an intervention with religion and appealed that the LHC’s single bench’s decision should be revoked.