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Report No. 164

1.5.1. Evidence of Christian community considered by the Commission in its previous reports for making recommendations for amendment of section 10 of the Act.-

It is also relevant to note that the 15th and 22nd Reports (supra) were prepared after collecting evidence from leaders of the Christian Church, representatives of the Christian Associations, members of the Christian community, Bar Associations and Judicial Officers in the country. The reports would reveal that there was a demand from the Christian community itself for inclusion of progressive grounds for divorce like cruelty and desertion which are available in almost all modern legislations on the subject. Since the law continued as such, in 1983, the Law Commission of India headed by none other than late Hon'ble Justice K.K. Mathew suo motu took note of the urgent need to amend the provisions contained in section 10 of the Act and submitted its 90th Report, dated 17-5-1983 recommending urgent amendment of that section. It is appropriate to quote the reasons given in the report:

"The reason why we attach the highest importance to amending section 10 as above may be stated. We regard such an amendment as a constitutional imperative. In our view, if the section is to stand the test of the constitutional mandate of equality before the law and equal protection of the laws, in the context of avoiding discrimination between the sexes, then the amendment is necessary. If Parliament does not remove the discrimination, the courts, in exercise of their jurisdiction to remedy violations of fundamental rights, are bound, some day, to declare the section as void "

1.5.2. Though more than fifteen years have elapsed after the said Report, no effective action seems to have been taken by the Parliament on the basis of the same to amend section 10 of the Act. The Commission reiterates the urgent necessity of amending section 10 of the Act to remove discrimination between the sexes and recommends that the offending words which have already been struck down by the Kerala and Andhra Pradesh High Courts, be deleted.

Indian Divorce Act, 1869 Back

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