Pak court seeks help from Bishop on Christian Divorce Act

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A Pakistani court has sought help from the Bishop of Lahore on a petition challenging the century-old Christian Divorce Act which says that a Christian man can divorce his wife only on the grounds of adultery.

Lahore High Court Justice Mansoor Ali Shah gave over a month’s time to the Bishop and the attorney general of Pakistan to reply to the questions raised by a Christian man regarding the Divorce Act 1869. The court adjourned the hearing till June 7.

Ameen Masih filed the petition saying he was not living happily with his wife over past two years as he did not enjoy good relations with his in-laws. “I want separation with my wife but I had to accuse her of adultery for the purpose, which she never committed,” he said.

Masih said the Christian Divorce Act 1869, required that a Christian could divorce his wife only on the ground of adultery. He said the Act existed since colonial period and it should be amended.

He said section 10 of the Act was ultra vires of the Constitution, pleading the court to strike down the impugned section so the Christian men could divorce their wives in a “dignified manner”.