Call for Public Release of Muslim Personal Law Reform Committee Report

Members of the Muslim Personal Law (MPL) Reform Committee: Justice Saleem Marsoof, Ms. Dilhara Amerasinghe, Justice Abdus.W.A. Salam. Hon. Mohamed Mackie, Mr. Shibly Aziz, Mr. Faisz Musthapha, Professor Sharya Scharenguivel, Dr. M.A.M. Shukri, Ash-Sheik Mohomead Magdoom Ahmad Mubarak, Ash-Sheik M.I.M Rizwe Mufthi, Deshabandu Mrs. Jezima Ismail, Mrs. Safana Gul Begum, Mrs. Fazlet Shahabdeen, Mr Razmara Abdeen, Mr. Nadvi Bahaudeen and Ms Farzana Jurampathy                                                      
CC: Minister of Justice, Judicial Service Commission

Dear Committee Members,


We the undersigned,  support voices within the Muslim community calling for the public release of the report of your committee on reforms to Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) 1951. Seven years since its appointment in 2009, no report has been submitted to the Ministry of Justice, nor is there any credible information in the public domain with regard to the substance of the Committee’s deliberations.

Reforms to the MMDA have been long awaited, as there are several discriminatory provisions and arbitrary practices in Quazi courts that must be addressed urgently. This, under the cover of protecting personal law, has resulted in Muslim women and girls being denied equality and rendered vulnerable to child marriage, teenage pregnancies, as well as many forms of gender-based violence and discrimination.

Your report assumes particular significance given the ongoing discussion on constitutional reforms and the need to address the question of personal laws under Article 16(1) of the present constitution. 

There are calls from various groups, including actors on the ground and women, especially those adversely affected, to ensure that personal laws are consistent with universally recognized principles of equality and non-discrimination. We are also encouraged by the submissions made in this regard to the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms and the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights, as well as the spate of recent media attention on this issue.

We support all calls to ensure that the right to equality is guaranteed to and realized by all citizens and the recommendations of your Committee will help in assessing the MMDA in this light.

Hence, in the interests of furthering equality and in keeping with the public’s right to know, we urge the Committee to make public forthwith your report.

Thanking you.

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