Summary on Indian Divorce Act, 1869

The act originally called the Indian Divorce Act was framed to cover all the Christians residing in India but excluding the princely states and the settlements occupied by Portugal and France. The act was mainly built upon the Matrimonial causes Act, 1857 which was applied in England. The Supreme Court has said that the principles and rules established by the House of Lords shall be applicable by the Indian courts in cases governed by the Divorce Act. Although the court expressed its displeasure by saying that incorporation of a statute cannot go this far. Even the Kerala High Court had to deal with issues regarding the application of English principles in deciding Indian cases. This was followed by the amendment of the act in 2001 where sec.7 was deleted which had expressly stated that principles of English courts ought to be applied but there were no alternative reference to principles mentioned which shall be applicable. There were no significant changes since the act was framed and hence the Indian law on Christian divorce had become one and the same as the one followed in England. The law commission of India had recommended some changes which was necessary to meet present requirements such as amendment to sec.10 of the act so that there are no discrimination based on gender for the grounds for divorce and also to simplify the procedures for divorce.

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