The Lahore High Court Chief Justice reserved its verdict in a petition demanding change in Section 10 of the Christian Divorce Act, 1869.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Senator Kamran Michael on Friday told the court that divine laws could not be changed in the name of fundamental rights. He appeared before the court along with Christian scholars to present view of his community.
Michael recited relevant verses from Bible and said the heavenly laws could not be altered. He said changing the divine law in the name of fundamental rights would be a violation of religious principles. He said the Bible clearly described the procedure for divorce of a Christian couple. The minister said the opinion, he gave in the court, was developed after proper consultation with church leaders and scholars.
Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah observed that the court was not supposed to interpret Bible or the Old Testament but to implement the constitution.
Punjab Minister for Minority Affairs Tahir Khalil Sindhu also supported the views presented by the minister. Bishops from different sects were also present in the court.
However, PML-N MPA Mary Gill said the Divorce Act was discriminatory in nature as the constitution provided equal rights to men and women. She said Christian women were forced to quit Christianity due to the divorce law.
Petitioner’s counsel Sheraz Zaka argued that section 10 of Divorce Act 1869 provided only one ground to a man to divorce his wife by imputing the charge of adultery. He said this ground for the dissolution of marriage was against the dignity of a woman.
The lawyer said in Christian majority countries the law had been amended and there were other logical grounds available for a Christian couple to seek separation. The court after hearing all the parties reserved its verdict.