The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking recognition of divorce decrees in Ecclesiastical Courts.
The PIL filed by a lawyer, Clarence Pais was heard at length by the bench of Justices headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar represented the Central government. Pais contended that marriage and its dissolution or annulment were governed by the Church, and if it remains unrecognized, the faithful Catholic population might be guilty of bigamy under the Indian Penal Code, even after a decree of divorce has been granted by the Court.
The petitioner also raised the issue that a multitude of catholic men had remarried after their divorce decrees were finalised by the Church clergy.
Pais, in his plea, had said, "It is reasonable that when the courts in India recognise dissolution of marriage (by pronouncing the word talaq three times) under Mohammedan Law which is Personal law of the Muslims, the courts should also recognise for the purpose of dissolution of marriage Canon Law as the personal law of the Indian Catholics."
The plea contended that Canon Law is the personal law of Catholics and has to be applied and enforced by a criminal court while deciding a case under section 494 (bigamy) of IPC.
With PTI Inputs