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Indian court: government does not recognize Church annulment decrees

July 06, 2016

India's Supreme Court has ruled that annulment decrees from Catholic Church tribunals have no legal standing in secular courts.

The court ruling came in a case brought by a Catholic canon lawyer, who sought to persuade the court that since Catholic marriages are governed by canon law, the state courts should recognize canonical rulings in marriage cases. The court rejected that argument, saying that the state is not required to accept the rulings of any tribunals not recognized by the government. The government of India-- now controlled by Hindu-nationalist parties-- do not recognize Catholic tribunals.

Because of the ruling, Catholics in India who remarry after an annulment will be subject to prosecution for bigamy if they do not also obtain a secular divorce. 

 
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