Sri Lanka committee finalizing report on Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act

Feb 07, 2017 (LBO) – A committee appointed by Sri Lanka’s former Minister of Justice and Law Reform Milinda Moragoda to consider and recommend amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act No 13 of 1951 is finalizing its report, a statement said.

The committee was appointed in July 2009 with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.

“In view of the extremely sensitive nature of the issues involved, this Committee called for representations from the public through notices published in English, Tamil and Sinhalese newspapers,” the statement said.

Highly respected Quazis, theologians, lawyers, scholars and researchers have sent their views and suggestions, with a pressing issue being underage marriages taking place in some places in Sri Lanka.

Detailed representations were received from the Council of Muslims of Sri Lanka, the All Ceylon YMMA Conference, The Muslim Lawyers’ Association, the All Ceylon Muslim Marriage Registrars’ Association, the Quazi Judges’ Forum of Sri Lanka, the Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum, the Kandy Forum, the Galle Muslim Cultural Association and the All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulema.

“This Committee had to necessarily take time to examine in great depth all the views, proposals and other representations received from the public, and in order to facilitate the process, had several public sittings to clarify and verify these representations.”

Consultations were also held with the Fathwa Committee of the All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulema as well as the Director and staff of Jamiah Naleemiah.

“This Committee has given anxious consideration to the problems faced by the public and their many concerns, in the context of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh), Sri Lanka’s Constitution and the applicable laws and procedures, and has attempted to evolve solutions to some serious social and legal problems and issues in harmony with the law of the country,” the statement said.

“As you may be aware, this Committee consists of erudite personalities in the caliber of reputed scholars, renowned lawyers and other professionals, who are conscious of the need to bring about urgent and appropriate reforms to both the substantial and procedural laws constituting the Quazi Court system consistently with the principles enshrined in the Holy Quran, Hadis, Ijma and Qiyas.”

The statement said that they would like to inform the general public with “utmost responsibility that it is working unitedly” to make its recommendations for the amendment of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act in such a manner that will benefit the Muslim community at large.