Lahore: Court unhappy over the failure of lawmakers to reform the Christian Marriage Act

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Christian Marriage Act in Pakistan

Lahore High Court expresses dismay over the failure of lawmakers to reform the Christian Marriage Act.

According to details, the Lahore High Court Judge Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, during the hearing of a case where petition had been filed seeking restoration of Section 7 of the Christian Divorce Act. The case hearing was conducted on Wednesday, April 6.

The Lahore High Court judge expressed alarm over the reluctance and delay exhibited by the lawmakers to bring about reforms in the Christian Family Law. The court sought help from the Attorney General of Pakistan on a petition; which contained a demand of restoration of Section 7 of the Christian Divorce Act.Furthermore, in this regard, the Attorney General was directed to appear before the court on May 12.

At this occasion Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah; order that public advertisements should be published in the newspapers seeking advice on this issue. The court thus directed to seek advice from the Christian lawmakers in the National Assembly as well as the Provincial Assembly.

The petition seeking restoration of Section 7 of the Christian Divorce Act was filed by Ameen Masih- a resident of Youhanabad, Lahore. Ameen Masih’s counsel Advocate Sheraz Zaka, while remarking about the court proceedings said that originally under the law, the courts were allowed to fix on the petitions regarding divorce.

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He went on to explain that currently, the single ground available in Pakistan’s law for a Christian man to divorce his wife is by means of allegations of adultery. He asserted that this has been and derogatory for the Christian women.

In the United Kingdom, he explained that the Matrimonial Causes Act provides a relaxation to the Christian couples to part ways by mutual consent if their marriage was unable to continue. He maintained that such grounds for divorce are not offered in Pakistan for Christians. Section 7 of the Christian Divorce Act enables a Christian couple to divorce each other with mutual consent while no other ground is required.

He told that in 1981 the provision for divorcing with mutual consent was omitted through Federal Laws Ordinance. However, urged the court to declare the annulment of Section 7 of Divorce Act 1869 unconstitutional.