ConCourt judgement brings relief for women’s rights in Muslim marriages: WLC

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The Women’s Legal Centre says the landmark judgment on the recognition of Muslim marriages brings great relief for the rights of women in Muslim marriages.

The women’s rights advocacy successfully launched a constitutional challenge for the recognition of the rights of women in Muslim marriages especially when marriages are dissolved.

The Constitutional Court declared the Marriages and Divorce Acts to be inconsistent with the constitution. The court found that the Divorce Act fails to make provision for the redistribution of assets when a Muslim marriage is dissolved.

It also found that the Divorce Act fails to provide mechanisms to safeguard the welfare of minor or dependent children born of Muslim marriages.

The Director of the Women’s Legal Centre Seehaam Samaai has welcomed the judgment

“We argued that it should apply retrospectively to 1994. However, the court indicated that it would only be by the 15 of December 2014, which is the date when we launched the case. What does this mean for women? It means that Talaqs or divorces that have not yet gone through, proceedings that have not yet been finalised by the 15 of December 2014 moving forward can bring those matters in terms of the Divorce Act. Then in addition to that the nature of divorces out of community of property, which might remain a challenge for many women. However, there is a provision of 73 in the Divorce Act that can be used to ensure there is maintenance post, in particular post-divorce maintenance period in addition to that an equitable redress to the assets,” says Samaai.