Salient features of Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961

After the partition of India in 1947, the legislation relating to Muslim family law introduced in British India continued to govern personal status. A seven-member Commission on Marriage and Family Laws was established in 1955 with a remit to consider the personal status laws applicable in the new state and determine the areas needing reform. The Commission submitted its report in 1956, suggesting a number of reforms, including, for example, the consideration of all tripletalaqs(except for the third of three) as single, revocable repudiations. The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 adopted some of the provisions of the Report of the Marriage and Family Laws Commission, aiming to reform divorce law and inheritance law relating to orphaned grandchildren, introduce compulsory marriage registration, place restrictions on the practice of polygamy, and reform the law relating to dower and maintenance in marriage and divorce, as well as to amend existing legislation with relation to marriage age
Succession. (Section 4)
Talaq/ Divorce (Section 7 )
Registration of marriage. (Section 5)
Time Period for effectiveness of divorce: (Section 7)
Union Council Registration Process: (Section 5)
Arbitration Council : (Section 7 )
Marriage Record: (Section 5)
Revocation of Divorce and Remarriage: (Section 7 )
Polygamy. (Section 6)
Maintenance of Wife: (Section 9 )
Permission from first wife : (Section 6)
Dower.( Section 10)
Payment of Dower: (Section 6)

Salient Features:
1. Succession. (Section 4)
In the event of death of any son or daughter of the propositus before the opening of succession, the children of such son or daughter, if any, living at the time the succession opens, shall per stripes, receive a share equivalent to the share which such son or daughter, as the case may be, would have received if alive.

2. Registration of marriage. (Section 5)

Every marriage solemnized under Muslim Law shall be registered.

3. Union Council Registration Process: (Section 5)

For the purpose of registration, the Union Council shall grant licenses to one or more persons, to be called Nikah Registrars, but in no case shall more than on Nikah Registrar be licensed for any one Ward.

4. Marriage Record: (Section 5)

The form of nikahnama, the registers to be maintained by Nikah Registrars.
This records to be preserved by Union Councils and copies of nikhanama shall be supplied to parties, and the fees to be charged .
Any person may, on payment of the prescribed fee, if any, inspect at the office of the Union Council the record preserved under sub-section (5), or obtain a copy of any entry therein.

5 Polygamy. (Section 6)
If a person want to contract a second marriage , while his first marriage is existing , he shall have to acquire permission from Arbitration Council and marriage without such permission shall not be registered .

6 Permission from first wife : (Section 6)
On receipt of the application, Chairman shall ask the applicant and his existing wife or wives each to nominate a representative, and the Arbitration Council if satisfied that the proposed marriage is necessary and just, grant, the permission applied for marriage.

7 Payment of Dower: (Section 6)
Any man who contracts another marriage without the permission of the Arbitration Council shall,
pay immediately the entire amount of the dower whether prompt or deferred, due to the existing wife or wives, which amount, if not so paid, shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue; and
Incase of conviction upon complaint may be punished with the simple imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.

8 Talaq/ Divorce (Section 7 )
Any man who wishes to divorce his wife shall, as soon as may be after the pronouncement of talaq in any form whatsoever, give the chairman a notice in writing of his having done so, and shall supply a copy thereof to the wife.
A person fail to do so shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.

9 Time Period for effectiveness of divorce: (Section 7)
If the talaq, is not revoked expressly or otherwise, it shall not be effective until the expiration of ninety days from day on which notice is delivered to the Chairman.
If the wife be pregnant at the time talaq is pronounced, talaq shall not be effective until the period of 90 days or the pregnancy, whichever later, ends.

10 Arbitration Council : (Section 7 )
Within thirty days of the receipt of notice, the Chairman shall constitute an Arbitration Council for the purpose of bringing about a reconciliation between the parties, and the Arbitration Council shall take all steps necessary to bring about such reconciliation.

11 Revocation of Divorce and Remarriage: (Section 7 )
Nothing shall debar a wife whose marriage has been terminated by talaq effective from remarrying the same husband, without an intervening marriage with a third person, unless such termination is for the third time so effective.

12 Maintenance of Wife: (Section 9 )
If any husband fails to maintain his wife adequately, or where there are more wives than one, fails to maintain them equitably, the wife, or all or any of the wives, may in addition to seeking any other legal remedy available apply to the Chairman who shall constitute an Arbitration Council to determine the matter.
And the Arbitration Council may issue a certificate specifying the amount which shall be paid as maintenance by the husband.

Incase if the money is not paid in the due time, it shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue.

13 . Dower.( Section 10)
Where no details about the mode of payment of dower are specified in the nikahnama or the marriage contract, the entire amount of the dower shall be presumed to be payable on demand.

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