The Lahore High Court on Monday allowed Christan couples to file for divorce without accusing each other of adultery, challenging a provision of the Christian Divorce Act 1869 that requires an allegation of adultery for the dissolution of marriage, Dawn has reported.
While announcing the order, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said, as quoted by Dawn, the court restored Section 7 of the Christian Divorce Act 1869 that enables a couple to approach a court of law for dissolution of marriage on ordinary grounds.
In 1981, under the former military ruler Zia-ul-Haq, the Section 7 of the Act was suspended through an ordinance, providing no ground for a Christian to divorce his partner except on charges of adultery.
After allowing a petition challenging a provision of the Christian Divorce Act that demanded the restoration of Section 7, Justice Shah said the Christians would be able to depart in a dignified way without accusing each other of adultery.
The petition was filed by Amin Masih through Advocate Sheraz Zaka, for he wanted to divorce his wife but without accusing her of adultery. The counsel also argued that the suspended section should be restored according to which the principles of courts of England would apply as far as family/divorce issues of Christians were concerned.
Advocate Sheraz Zaka said the suspension of Section 7 of the Divorce Act 1869 through the ordinance should be declared unconstitutional since Constitution of Pakistan mentions protection of minorities as one of the salient features.