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Cabinet nod for reforms in Muslim marriage and divorce act

The cabinet of ministers has approved amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, which among other things seeks to raise the age of marriage for Muslim women to 18.

The proposal was presented by Minister of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Abdul Haleem and Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms Thalatha Atukorale.

Accordingly the age of marriage has been changed to 18 years for both men and women while exceptions are provided for 16-18 years with the approval of the Qazi (Islamic Judge) and it would be an offence if a marriage is solemnized without the permission of the Qazi or below 16 years.

The punishment for such offences amounts to 1-2 years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100,000.

The reforms were made according to the demands of the Muslim community and several rights groups.

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