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Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

SC expedites hearing in plea for recognition of church decrees on divorce

Court held that the matter would be given an early hearing but did not specify a date

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to expedite a matter seeking to hold canon law as the personal law of Christians as a result of which a decree of dissolution of marriage by an ecclesiastical court would be valid and binding.

The bench headed by chief justice of India T.S. Thakur held that the matter would be given an early hearing but did not specify a date.

“Recognition must be given to church decrees passed for dissolution of a marriage," counsel for petitioner Clarence Pais told the court.

The petition brought before the court in 2013 by Pais, former president of the Catholic Association of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka, claims that canon law enjoins that Catholics are required to marry in a Catholic church and that they seek nullity in the canonical court (ecclesiastical court/tribunal) also under the code of canon law.

Also read: Why India needs a uniform civil code

It also challenges the jurisdiction of criminal courts in India to prosecute Roman Catholics under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for the alleged offence of bigamy without considering the canon law.

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