Lack of Legislation in respect of Christian community by advocate Dilawar G Bhatti
15 Apr 2009
Before I say about my topic, I would like to introduce my self I am an advocate and always try my best to help our churches through their posters. Nowadays I am studying in LLM final at S M Law College and I have to write about my thesis which I wish to highlights the lack of legislation in respect of personal law of Christian community. According to my knowledge in our country there are no such personal laws existing as the Muslims.
The only law in force for Christians is the Marriage Act and Divorce Act, which is about 139 years old, and has failed to satisfy the needs of the present time. Since the only basis for dissolving a marriage is adultery, ie, one who wishes to dissolve a marriage has to charge the spouse with adultery. Now a duly performed, consummated Christian marriage can be dissolved under the Divorce Act, section 10, but for a Christian husband only. If a Christian woman wanted divorce, adultery on the part of the husband is not grounds enough. It has to be one of the following:
Changing profession and remarriage
Bigamy with adultery
Second marriage and adultery
Rape, sodomy and bestiality
Adultery coupled with cruelty
Adultery with two or more.
So this section does not uphold the principles of justice.
Regarding succession and inheritance, no legislation exists. What happens in the absence of this is illustrated by the following story. There was a case brought by two surviving daughters of a Christian father, who were denied the right of inheritance by their uncle. The deceased had no male heir. The lawyer for defense brought a passage from the Old Testament to prove that a female heir was not entitled to a share of heritance according to the Christian faith. The case was decided against the daughters by taking that passage into account. In a similar case in another city, a lawyer proved from the same version of the Old Testament that female heirs are entitled to a share, and the court decided the case in favour of that female heir. Which is right and which is wrong?
The laws regarding Christian marriage allow mixed marriages, to enable people remain part of their original community. The same protection as provided in the Muslim Personal Law, but this provision is for the Muslim male only. In a case of abduction of a Christian girl, if the male gets a marriage certificate from a maulvi or priest (padri), he receives protection from both laws. If he can influence the police as well, no redress is provided ~ the poor girl. This not a rear case in this feudal, male- dominated society. We need some adequate personal laws for minorities in the country.
In views of above, therefore I requested to all educated people of Christian community especially for those who are active in such type of activities and claimed to be the leaders of this nation. Please come to know me about your comments in this regard. If you wants to change in this country about the personal laws of Christian community then you should write me about it and which kinds of changing to be required.