Report No. 15
General.-The existing provision in the Divorce Act authorises the court to grant relief under the Act where either the petitioner or the respondent professes the Christian religion (at the time of the petition). It seems, however, more logical to provide that (as a rule) both the parties must be Christians at the time of marriage (or petition).
The result of this change is, that where a non-Christian is married to a Christian outside India (or-though this can happen very rarely,-even within India, where the-personal law of the non-Christian allows that), the parties will not be able to get relief under the new Act. Similarly, where two non-Christians marry and one of them is subsequently converted to Christianity, the parties cannot claim relief under the new Act. In both these respects, the clause is narrower than the existing section.
Sub-clause (a).-This will include cases of two non-Christians marrying as non-Christians and subsequently getting themselves converted to Christianity.
Sub-clause (b).-See discussion under "General" above. The words "at least one of the parties is a Christian" etc., are intended to exclude cases where both the spouses have, after re-marriage, renounced Christianity.
Sub-clause (c).-To protect the rights of persons married under the existing Act, it has been made clear that such a marriage can be made the subject-matter of proceedings under the new Act, if at least one of the parties is a Christian at the time of the petition. This part of the clause follows the existing provision in the Divorce Act.
Placing.-It is considered that the clause under discussion should be placed along with the clause dealing with the local jurisdiction of district courts. Hence it has been placed here.