Christian Personal Law

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Christian Personal Law or family law consists Adoption, Divorce, Guardianship, Marriage and Succession. The provisions of canon law concerning marriage are recognised as the personal law of Catholics in India (except in the state of Goa). Indian Christians (except in the state of Goa) are governed by the Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872.[1] Christian Personal Law is not applicable in the state of Goa. The Goa Civil Code, also called the Goa Family Law, is the set of civil laws that governs the residents of the Indian state of Goa. In India, as a whole, there are religion-specific civil codes that separately govern adherents of different religions. Goa is an exception to that rule, in that a single secular code/law governs all Goans, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or linguistic affiliation. And that


Christians in India can adopt children by resorting to section 41 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2006 read with the Guidelines and Rules issued by various State Governments.


Both husband and wife can seek a divorce on the grounds of,

  1. Adultery
  2. Cruelty
  3. Desertion for more than seven years
  4. Insanity for more than two years
  5. Incurable leprosy for more than two years
  6. Conversion to another religion
  7. Willful refusal to consummate the marriage
  8. Not being heard of for 7 years
  9. Venereal disease in communicable form for two years
  10. Failure to obey the order for restitution of conjugal rights.

However, the wife has been permitted to sue for divorce on additional grounds if the husband is guilty of:

  1. Rape
  2. Sodomy
  3. Bestiality


Christians in India are governed generally by the provisions of the Guardians and Wards Act (Central Act No 8 of 1890) in matters relating to guardianship of minors in respect of their person and property.


The Christian Law of Marriage in India is governed by the Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872. The Law extends to the whole of India except the territories which, immediately before the 1 November 1956, were comprised in the state of Travancore-Cochin, Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, the act does not apply to marriages of Christians solemnised in the territories of the former states of Travancore and Cochin which now form part of Kerala.

Tamil Nadu Legislature vide its Act No 27 of 1995 Dated 22/09/1995, extended Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872 to territories of Kanyakumari District and Sengottai Thaluk which were transferred to Tamil Nadu after the Re organisation of Indian States. However, civil marriages among Christians in the former princely state of Cochin is governed by the provisions of the Cochin Christian Civil Marriage Act 1095 ME]]. civil marriages among Christians in the Jammu and Kashmir are governed by The Jammu and Kashmir Christian Marriage and Divorce Act, 1957. There is no statute regulating solemnisation of marriages among Christians in Manipur, rather customary law or personal law prevails there.


The Indian Succession Act of 1865 was comprehensively amended and consolidated by the Indian Succession Act of 1925. Neither the Indian Succession Act of 1865, nor the Act of 1925 was to apply to Christians in the whole of India.

See also


  1. ^ Shiv Sahai Singh (1 January 1993). Unification of Divorce Laws in India. Deep & Deep Publications. pp. 30–32. ISBN 978-81-7100-592-5. 
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