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Report No. 248

16. Converts' Marriage Dissolution Act, Act 21 of 1866

Category: Personal Laws

Recommendation: Repeal

This Act was enacted to allow the dissolution of marriages of converts from Hinduism to Christianity, on the grounds that they have been deserted or repudiated on religious grounds by spouse. It enables divorce proceedings to be initiated by the converted person, not his or her spouse. The scope of the Act was first considered in the 18th Law Commission Report (1960) which recommended repeal of the Act because of its limited scope.

The continuance of this Act should be considered in light of the fact that the Supreme Court in Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India [AIR 1995 SC 1531] has said that allowing dissolution of marriage under the laws of the converted person is tantamount to destroying the existing rights of the other spouse who continues to belong to the same religion.


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