Cabinet Nod For Muslim Marriage Law Amendments, Puts Marriageable Age At 18

Marking a progressive move in Muslim personal law the cabinet today approved amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) thereby stating the age of marriage of Muslim females should be of 18 years of age, spokesperson to the Minister of Postal Services & Muslim Religious Affairs Abdul Haleem confirmed.

Cabinet today gave the green light to 11 amendments forwarded to it by Minister Haleem and Justice Minsiter Thalatha Atukorale.

Amendments include age of marriage, registration of the Nikah requiring the registration and Nikah to be taken place at the same time, role of a male wali, consent signature of the bride making it mandatory, laws on polygamy, compensation such as lump sum compensation for talaq (divorce), dowry, maintenance and custody of children and all amendments agreed upon by consensus in the MMDA report.

Other amendments included that “persons to be appointed as Quazis, Temporary Quazis and Special Quazis, should be Attorneys-at-law having a sound knowledge of Muslim law”.

With the intention of making the Quazi Board more accessible to the provinces it was further proposed to redesignate the Board of Quazis as the “Quazi Appellate Court”.

“That its Chairman should be a full-time Judicial Officer of such class and grade as may be determined by the Judicial Service Commission with such qualifications and attainments that may be prescribed by the Judicial Service Commission.”

The recommendation to increase the number of members of the Board from the current 5 to 9 with the hope to facilitate more regular sittings in at least three outstation centres was also approved.

Proposed amendments will now be forwarded to the Department Legal Draftsman.

Source:Colombo Telegraph