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Report No. 15

63. Conversion.-

One of the grounds on which divorce could be had under the proposed legislation is that the respondent has ceased to be a Christian by conversion. This corresponds to section 13(1)(ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, under which it is a ground for divorce that the other party has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion, and to section 32(1) of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936, which provides for divorce on the ground that the defendant has ceased to be a Parsi.

A connected question which loomed large in the evidence before us is as to the rights of a convert to Christianity to obtain dissolution of a marriage contracted before his or her conversion. (That is the converse of the case for which provision has been made by us). The Converts' Marriage Dissolution Act, 1866, provides that when a husband or wife changes his or her religion to Christianity he or she can move the court for a decree dissolving the marriage, and the court may pass such a decree after complying with the procedure prescribed therein and that thereafter the parties thereto shall have the right to remarry. But this Act applies only if the parties to the marriage are not Muslims, Parsis, or Jews; and the criticism levelled against it, that it is discriminative in character in that:

(1) it applies only to cases of conversion from Hinduism, and

(2) it gives relief only in cases of conversion to Christianity, is well-founded. In view of this, we are considering whether we should not recommend the enactment of a law, which will be generally applicable to all cases of conversion from one religion to another religion. The question of the repeal of the Converts' Marriage Dissolution Act, 1866, can appropriately be taken up then for consideration.

Report on the Law of Christian Marriage and Divorce Back

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