For those who are campaigning in support of rejecting MMDA, this is for you:

For those who are campaigning in support of rejecting MMDA, this is for you:

The Quazi system has its inherent faults because:

a) the qualifications and eligibilities to become a Quazi is set at a minimum. Thus very few qualified candidates are in the system.

b) their total allowance per month is around Rs. 13000/- which is a pittance. Thus no qualified person wants to apply or waste their time.

c) there is nothing called an established Quazi Court. So the courts sit on Saturdays in boutiques and the front halls of the Quazis' houses.

d) Quazis aren't appointed after an official training as like in the cases of judges by the judges institute. And in most instances the Quazis aren't lawyers. So they have no knowledge of the proper legal provisions.

e) no proper disciplinary control mechanism - the disciplinary control of quazis is not properly set up because only one officer as per my knowledge runs all the affairs relating to the Quazi system in the Judicial Service Commission.

f) Quazis have no code of conduct. As a lacuna, Quazis have no code of conduct and as such, no way of telling them how to conduct themselves.

g) their job isn't full time or fully judicial and they're not deemed as public servants since they're not paid a proper salary as per the laws. Thus, they tend to do all other jobs apart from being a Quazi. This paves way to getting into conflicts of interest and thus making it unbecoming of a person dispensing justice.

But, a Quazi court grants divorces within a maximum of 6 months in 90% plus occasions.

You need to spend ZERO rupees to file and obtain a divorce or maintenance.

You don't necessarily have to retain a lawyer and thus no need to spend for a lawyer.

No painful paperwork and no dismissal of applications for silly technical grounds as in regular courts systems.

As opposed to regular courts where,

You will definitely have to spend atleast 1 to 2 years minimum to get an uncontested divorce and more than 5 years for a contested divorce in the District Court. Getting divorced makes it impossible in most western countries and that's why people choose to live together as means to get rid of the pain of a marriage and divorce.

Divorce is expensive in general court system. A minimum of Rs. 25000 will have to be spent for a lawyer to start the case and each appearance costs money. It can vary depending on the lawyer and it can go up to millions to obtain a divorce.

Divorce in general law is granted only on three grounds:

i) Adultery
ii) malicious desertion
iii) incurable impotence

Cruelty, breakage of marriage or any other principles of divorce in other countries isn't applicable in Sri Lankan general law and no divorce is granted on mutual consensus.

MMDA recognizes all of this as grounds of divorce and even recognizes sexual dissatisfaction as grounds for divorce (and yes even for women).

Some divorces (a few that I myself have appeared) had taken almost 20 years up to supreme court, and the supreme court has refused to grant divorce.

The delays in the system has costed up till the end of their lives without getting their divorce at times.


1. Almost all women (including those who fight ferociously for reform) want MMDA to be retained with whatever reforms proposed as per justice Marsoof report.

2. We have advocated for the appointment of women as judges in the Quazi system and we have won the majority with consent from all spheres.

3. Polygamy (or polygyny) is already legal as per MMDA but as per a survey, out of 19000 odd Muslim marriages, only 6 men had two wives and none had more than two.

I know more than half the men I know having more girlfriends at a time after marriage.

4. Maintenance is an issue in Quazi system because basic principles are not properly set in and are not followed. Thus we are advocating for the general maintenance law to apply for maintenance cases for Muslims as well.

But mind you when I say, the issues in general maintenance law and access to justice is at time trickier than MMDA.

5. The next major issue is minimum age of marriage. Almost everyone agree that it should be 18. But with a special permission of court on specific occasions, women above 16 can also be married is what's proposed at the moment.

6. Women signing their marriage registration.

At present a 'wali' or a legal guardian has to sign on behalf of a bride. But the woman has no place to sign in her marriage registration. We have advocated and made all parties agree that this must go away and women should be allowed to sign their marriage registration.

We want changes in the system but not repeal the system.

-Written by my dear friend Shihar Hassan (we share the same thoughts).
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