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Report No. 164

1.6. Observations of Courts regarding review of Act.-

The courts in India have noted the antiquated and anomalous nature of the Act and stressed the need for amendment of the law in various judgments. In S.D. Selvaraj v. Chandirah Msry, (1968) 1 MLJ 289, Alagiriswami, J. (as he then was) had stressed the need for an immediate amendment of the Act on the lines of the provisions contained in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936, and the Special Marriage Act, 1954. In T.M. Bashiam v. M. Victor, AIR 1970 Mad 12, a special Bench of the same court after referring to the observations of Alagiriswami, J. in Selvaraj's case has made the following observations:

"It is only under this Act (4 of 1869) that the law remains where it was, when this enactment was born, so that parties governed by this law are under the grave disadvantage that, even if a husband deserts his wife for a considerable period, that will be no ground for divorce; in our view, it is a genuine hardship and there is urgent need for re-examination of the provisions of Act 4 of 1869, as the Act governs a large body of persons in this country to see that its provisions are rendered humane and up-to-date."

(Emphasis supplied)

1.7. 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 22nd report of the Law Commission, a draft Christian Marriage and Matrimonial Causes Bill, 1961 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.

Indian Divorce Act, 1869 Back

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