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Reforms of Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act recent update.
The Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) is the recent heat topics and the member of parliament joined together to the committee that has been giving suggestions to the MMDA. Twelve members’ committee representing the members of the parliament have been coming together. Hon. M.H.A. Haleem, Minister of Postal Services and Muslims Religious Affairs, Hon. M.H.M. Fowzie, Hon. Rahuf Hakeem, Hon. Faizer Musthafa, Hon. Ameer Ali, Hon. M.A.M. Maharoof, Hon. Seyeed Ali Zahir Moulana, Hon. S.M. Ismail, Hon. K. Kader Masthan, Hon. Ishaq Mohamed, Hon. Mujeeb-ur-Rahmanand Hon. M. Nazeer.
The finalized decisions of the meeting on the draft Bill and the Memorandum were put out for the parliament for the reform of the current Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act.
1. Age of marriage is agreed to provide for 18 years for both men and women without difference.
2. Marriage Registration and Nikah are mandatory to validate a marriage.
3. Compensatory gift or the lump sum compensation is agreed to Mata’s for Talaq. Khula and Faskh. Compensaton for Faskh is possible only if it is proved that the wife has been compelled by duress exerted upon her by husband to seek a Fashh in order to avoid paying Mata’a.
4. Sects/ Mazhabas. Agree to keep the sect intact subjects to following amendments:
(i) Parties to a Muslim marriage belong to two different sects, can mutually agree to be governed by a particular sect in the declarations made by them
(ii) One or both parties to a Muslim marriage do not belong to any sect, or where the parties to the marriage belong to two different sects but they have not mutually agreed to abide by the Muslim law of any particular sect in the declaration made by them, all the matters relating to the said marriage shall be government by the principles of Muslim law, without being confined to the law governing any particular sect.
5. Women as Qazi to remove the gender discrimination by removing the word “male”.
6. Agree to keep male wali, provided that in the event of the Qazi of another jurisdiction can be invited to disputize the female Qazi of a particular jurisdiction. (Current position is that wali is required for all women the other than those who have been married before while women can get Quazi approval and marry without wali)
7. Agreed to elevate the institution of Quazi to the status of a court, be recognized as an integral part of the Sri Lankan Judiciary and to enhance the status of a Quazi to that of a permanent and full time Judicial Officer of such class and grade as may be determined by the Judicial Service Commission. The amending legislation to provide that persons to be appointed as Quazis, Temporary Quazis and Special Quazia, should be Attorney-at-law having a sound knowledge of Muslim law.
8. Lawyers Appearing at Quazi court do not agree to representation by Attorney-at-law in the Qazi courts. Either party can be accompanied by any individual during their courts procedures but lawyers cannot appear in Quazi courts represent clients in their legal capacity.
9. The agreed to keep the polygamy with conditions applied as follows. (This will almost curtail the polygamy)
Quazi approval required based on the following conditions for subsequent marriage:
1. Adequately looking after wives
2. Adequately looking after children
3. Adequately looking after future wife
4. Financially capacity to look after all
5. Inform present wife/wives
6. Subsequent marriage contracted without Quazi’s permission is punishable by imprisonment
If wife doesn’t give permission, wife can apply for a divorce. Polygamy without Quazi’s approval and without fulfilling the conditions cannot be solemnized and registered. Such marriage should be invalidated.
10. Agrees to provides for Wali as well as bride to sign
11. Agree to provide for recovery of kaikuli to be expended to include Mahar and movable and immovable property
12. Agreed to provide for adequate representation for males/females in MMD advisory board, Board of Quazi’s, Appointment of women registrars.
13. Agrees to take out the jurisdiction of Quazi court and bring under the District Court.
14. All matters agreed upon by consensus by both Justice Saleem Marsoof et al and Faiz Mustafa et al.
Word Meanings: (Quazi – Judge, Kaikuli – Divorce, Talaq – Divorce option available to men: no need of grounds or reasons, Fasak – Divorce initiated by women on fault grounds, Matah – Compensation comes with Divorce, Khula Divorce – Divorce initiated by the wife on some sort of payment to the husband: usually returning to Mahr that is gift from husband at the time of marriage/nikkah similar to dowry, Mahr – gift from husband at the time of marriage the different form of dowry: dowry that is given by the bride’s side)