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Report No. 164

Chapter III

Recommendations of The Law Commission

3.1. The Law Commission is in full agreement with the views expressed by Law Commission in its earlier reports mentioned hereinabove and the views expressed unanimously by several High Courts in the country.

(i)It is, therefore, recommended that Parliament enact a comprehensive law governing the marriage, divorce and other allied aspects of the Christians in India. The draft Bill enclosed with the 15th report of the Law Commission, the draft Christian Marriage and Matrimonial Causes Bill, 1961 as modified by the 22nd report of the Law Commission and the draft Christian Marriage Bill, 1994, referred to hereinabove, should serve as a basis for such a law. We do not think that there is any ground for procrastinating the matter any longer.

(ii) The Law Commission further recommends that in any event paragraphs 1 to 5 of section 17 and section 20 of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869, be deleted forthwith. The last remaining paragraph of section 17 would thus become section 17. Further, section 10 should also be amended in the manner indicated in para. 1.5.2 of this report.

3.2. The Law Commission wishes to emphasise the fact that the provisions contained in sections 17 and 20 are only procedural in nature and there is absolutely no possibility of any member of the Christian community objecting to amendments suggested herein. Section 10 of the Act also needs to be amended suitably so that the female spouses are not discriminated vis-a-vis male spouses in obtaining divorce, as indicated by us in paragraph 1.5.2 above. Indeed, the offending portions have been already struck down by Kerala and Andhra Pradesh High Courts and there is not a murmur against the said decisions by any member of Christian Community. The Law Commission recommends that at least these amendments be made without any delay.

Mr. Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy (Retd.), Chairman.

Ms. Justice Leila Seth (Retd.), Member.

Dr. N.M. Ghatate, Member.

Dr. Subhash C. Jain, Member-secretary.

Dated: 13th November, 1998

Indian Divorce Act, 1869 Back

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