Lahore High Court allows Christian couples to divorce on grounds outside of adultery

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Christian men can now divorce their wives without charges of adultery. The Lahore High Court (LHC) has restored the Section 7 of the Christian Divorce Act 1869, on Monday, 23 May. With the restoration of Section 7, Christian couples can now divorce cases with mutual consent without bringing charges of adultery.

LHC resores Section 7 of Christian Divorce Act

Section 7 was omitted from the Christian Divorce Act, by General Zia-ul-Haq, in 1981. While hearing the petition case Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, declared the Federal Law and Clause Ordinance 1981, as void, under which the Section 7 was cast aside from the Christian Divorce Act.

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Followed by restoration of Section 7, law allows Pakistani Christian couples to file for divorce or separation compliant with the customs and traditions in Britain. However under the Section 10 of the 1981 ordinance, the Christian couples were allowed to file for separation or divorce only on one reason which was adultery.

During the case hearing, Sheraz Zaka the petitioner’ counsel argued that the exclusion of section 7 of the Act implies that the values of English Divorce Court were obscured and unkempt which placed the entire act to be administered in a biased manner. He continued that the British Matrimonial Causes Act will now be interpreted in a liberal manner.

After the restoration of Section 7, the Christian couples will now be provided with a cushion, for the husband and wife equally if they wish to part ways with mutual consent. He argued that previously, this ground was not available for the Christian couples. Formerly, the sole ground on which Christian men could divorce their wives was that a husband was required to accuse his wife of adultery.

This ruling has been met with criticism from the Christians, as they complain that restoration of Section will taint the sanctity of Christian marriage. There are plans to challenge the Lahore High Court’ decision in the Apex Court.