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Punjab Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015

Provincial Assembly of Punjab amended the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 (MFLO) in 2015, to include some important provisions for the protection of women.

  • Registration of marriages by licensed Nikah Registrars has been made compulsory, while marriages not solemnized by a licensed Nikah Registrar can be reported and the person responsible punished with imprisonment of up to 3 months and fine of up to Rs. 1000/-.
  • Nikah Registrars are bound to accurately fill all columns of the nikahnama. Failure to fill all columns will result in fine of Rs. 25,000 and imprisonment of 1 month.
  • Succession: if the son/daughter of a deceased person dies before opening of succession, the children of the son/daughter (if they are living) shall receive their parent’s share as inheritance.
  • Polygamy: No married man can remarry if he does not have permission from the Arbitration Council (a body which is headed by the Chairman, Union Council, for the purposes of divorce). A marriage contracted without permission cannot be registered, and carries a penalty of Rs. 500,000 and imprisonment of up to 1 year, along with payment of entire dower (if it was not given at the time of Nikah) to the existing wife/wives.
  • Upon receiving an Application for permission, the Arbitration Council will obtain permission from the existing wife/wives’ before granting the Applicant permission to remarry. If the Chairman Arbitration Council does not take permission from the existing wife, he will be liable to a fine of Rs. 100,000 and imprisonment of 3 months.
  • Divorce (talaq): any man who wishes to divorce his wife must write an Application to the Chairman Union Council. If the man does not do so, divorce cannot be final, and he can face imprisonment of up to 1 year, along with a fine of up to Rs. 5000.
  • Divorce will be effective after 90 days have passed from the day on which the notice was first presented to the Chairman. Before expiry of 90 days, divorce can be revoked by the husband. In case the wife is pregnant at the time of pronouncement of talaq, talaq will not be effective until expiry of 90 days or end of pregnancy, whichever period ends later.
  • If the husband has delegated the right to divorce to the wife (haq-e-tafveez), she can divorce her husband according to the procedure mentioned above. Before expiry of 90 days, divorce can be revoked by the wife.
  • Maintenance: if a husband does not maintain his wife, or wives, his wife/wives can make an application to the Chairman Union Council, who will determine an appropriate amount of maintenance to be given to the wife/wives, and issue a certificate specifying this amount, and a date on which it has to be given by the husband every month.
  • Maintenance Certificates can also be issued by the Chairman Union Council if a father fails to maintain his children.

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