The Supreme Court agreed to examine the issue of whether a divorce granted by a Christian court, set up under its personal law, can be considered valid under Indian common law.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued notice to the Centre and sought its response on a PIL alleging that many Catholic Christians, who married after getting divorce from Christian court, are facing criminal charges of bigamy as such divorces are not recognised by the criminal and civil courts here.
“It is reasonable that when the courts in India recognize dissolution of marriage (by pronouncing the word talaq three times) under Mohammedan Law which is personal law of the Muslims, the courts should also recognize for the purpose of dissolution of marriage Canon Law as the personal law of the Indian Catholics,” advocates Ajit Bhasme and Sanjay Dubey, appearing for the petitioner, contended.
They contended that Canon Law is the personal law of the Catholics in the country and has to be applied and enforced by a criminal court while deciding a case under section 494 (bigamy) of the IPC.
This is also applicable for sanction of prosecution considered for alleged bigamy of a Catholic spouse who has married after obtaining a decree for nullity of the first marriage from the Ecclesiastical Tribunal (Christian court), according to them.