India’s Supreme Court said Canon law and decrees of divorce given by ecclesiastical tribunals or “Church Courts” cannot veto the statutory law of divorce, The Hindu reports.

Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said many Catholic Christians faced criminal charges of bigamy if they remarry after getting a divorce from Christian courts since such divorces are not recognized by the criminal and civil courts.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a judicial declaration that divorce decrees passed by ecclesiastical tribunals are valid and binding.

Clarence Pais, a former president of a Karnataka Catholic association, filed the PIL in 2013. The PIL said the divorce granted by a Church should be considered valid under the Indian common law similar to the Muslims’ “triple talaq.”

Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee representing Pais argued that courts recognize dissolution by “triple talaq” under the Mohammedan personal law so they should also recognize the Canon law as the personal law of Indian Catholics.

He said many Catholic Christians faced criminal charges of bigamy if they remarry after getting a divorce from Christian courts since such divorces are not recognized by the criminal and civil courts.

Pais’ plea said the Canon law is the personal law of Catholics and has to be applied and enforced by a criminal court.

Sources:
Legal correspondent. (2017). The Hindu. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/‘Church-courts’-cannot-veto-divorce-law-says-Supreme-Court/article17063297.ece

Indiatimescom. (2017). The Economic Times. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/divorce-granted-by-church-court-cant-override-law-supreme-court/articleshow/56667518.cms

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