..::DIVORCE Under the Parsi Laws in Pakistan

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Under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 there are 2 modes of Divorce:

Suit for Nullity: According to the Section 30 of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, (III of 1936), in any case which consummation of the marriage is from natural causes impossible, such marriage may, at the instance of either party thereto, be declared to be null and void.

Suit for Dissolution: According to the Section 31, if a husband or wife shall have been continually absent from his or her wife or husband for the space of seven years, and shall not have been heard of as being alive within that time by those persons who would have naturally heard of him or her, had he or she been alive, the marriage of such husband or wife may, at the instance of either party thereto, be dissolved.

Grounds of Divorce

Any married person may sue for divorce on any one or more of the following grounds:

  • that the marriage has not been consummated within one year after its solemnization owing to the willful refusal of the defendant to consummate it;

  • that the defendant at the time of the marriage was of unsound mind and has been habitually so up to the date of the suit:

    Provided that divorce shall not be granted on this ground, unless the plaintiff:

    1. was ignorant of the fact at the time of the marriage; and

    2. has filed the suit within three years from the date of marriage.

  • That the defendant was at the time of marriage pregnant by some person other than the plaintiff:

    Provided that divorce shall not be granted on this ground, unless:

    1. The plaintiff was at the time of the marriage ignorant of the fact alleged.

    2. The suit has been filed within two years of the date of marriage; and

    3. Marital intercourse has not taken place after the plaintiff came to know of the fact.

  • That the defendant has since the marriage committed adultery or fornication or bigamy or rape or an unnatural offense;

    Provided that divorce shall not be granted on this ground if the suit has been filed more than two years after the plaintiff came to know on the fact.

  • That the defendant has since the marriage voluntarily caused grievous hurt to the plaintiff or has infected the plaintiff with venereal disease or, where the defendant is the husband, has compelled the wife to submit herself to prostitution:

    Provided that divorce shall not be granted on this ground if the suit has been filed more than two years:

    1. after the infliction of the grievous hurt; or

    2. after the plaintiff came to know of the infection; or

    3. after the last act of compulsory prostitution.

  • That the defendant is undergoing a sentence of imprisonment for seven year or more for an offence as defined in the Pakistan Penal Code.

    Provided that divorce shall not be granted on this ground, unless the defendant has prior to the filing of the undergone at least one year’s imprisonment out of the said period.

  • That the defendant has deserted the plaintiff for at least three years;

  • That a decree or order for judicial separation has been passed against the defendant, or an order has been passed against the defendant by a Magistrate awarding separate maintenance to the plaintiff, and the parties have not had marital intercourse for three years or more since such decree or order;

  • That the defendant has failed to comply with a decree for restitution of conjugal rights for a year or more; and

  • That the defendant has ceased to be a Parsi.

    Provided that divorce shall not be granted on this ground if the suit has been filed more than two years after the plaintiff came to know of the fact.

Suits for Judicial Separation

According to Section 34 of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 any married person may sue for judicial separation on any of the ground for which such person could have filed a suit for divorce, or on ground that the defendant has been guilty of such cruelty to him or her or their children, or has used such personal violence, has behaved in such a way as to render it in the judgment of the Court improper to compel him or her to live with the defendant.

Constitution of Special Courts under the Act

For the purpose of hearing suits under this Act, a special Court shall be constituted under Section 18 in such places in the territories of Provincial Governments as such Government respectively shall think fit.

Every Court so constituted shall be entitled the Parsi District Matrimonial Court of the place at which it is constituted. Every Appeal filed against the order of the court shall lie to the High Court.

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