Goa is the only state in India to follow the common law; Find out why this is an exception

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Thursday announced that the state cabinet has decided to form a committee of experts on the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). However, it should be noted that Goa has been following the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867, also known as the Uniform Civil Code. After liberation from Portuguese rule, the code survives on the basis of section 5 (1) of the Goa, Repression, and Diu Administration Act, 1962. Its continuity is equivalent to the non-enactment of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Hindu Marriage Act. Inheritance Act, 1956 or Indian Inheritance Act, 1925 or Shariat (Application) Act, 1937.

Also read: Uniform civil code is about to become a reality Learn the history and relevance of what the constitution says

Addressing the media after his first state cabinet meeting, Dhami said, “We have decided to implement a uniform civil code in the state. The state cabinet has unanimously approved that a committee (of experts) will be formed soon and it will be implemented in the state. “

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) basically refers to a general law that governs personal matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance and inheritance.

About Goa Civil Code

Goa is by far the only state in India where all communities including Hindus, Muslims, Christians are governed by the same law when it comes to marriage, divorce, inheritance etc. as the state becomes a part of the Indian Union. 1961, the former Portuguese colony decides to continue with the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867 for all communities in the state.

The Goa Civil Code, however, is not entirely the same as the BJP’s proposed Uniform Civil Code. Although “uniform” means the uniformity of all, regardless of religion, race, caste, sex or age, some of the laws of the Goa Code make a clear distinction between the General Civil Code and the Uniform Civil Code.

Also read: States cannot legislate on Uniform Civil Code and why Goa does not contain example

The Goa Civil Code prohibits dual marriage – a code that defines the crime of marrying someone while married to another person – for all religions except Hinduism. Hindu men have the right to marry in the specific circumstances mentioned in the practices and customs of the pagan Hindus of Goa (if the wife fails to give birth to a child by the age of 25, or if she fails to give birth to a male child by the age of 30). Such privileges, especially forbidden to men of Hindu religion and men of other religions, are clearly not valid to be part of a uniform civil law.

Speaking at the inauguration of a new Bombay High Court building in Goa in March 2021, former Chief Justice of India Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde said, And I have the great opportunity to administer justice under that code. It applies to marriage and inheritance, governing all Goans regardless of religious affiliation, “Bobde was quoted by news agency ANI.

The Special Marriage Act, enacted to regulate the marriage of two people of different religions, works differently in Goa. Muslim men whose marriages are registered in Goa cannot have polygamy. Also, there is no provision for oral divorce.

However, the provision lacks uniformity between Catholic and non-Catholic marriages. First, the marriage intent is registered by the spouse with the Civil Registration Authority and two weeks later, a marriage deed is signed. For Catholics, signatures in the church are considered sufficient for civil registration. Many women are unaware that a second confirmation is required by signing the UCC, and so, when a dispute arises, their marriage is declared invalid. According to the Indian Express, many marriages have taken place due to such fraud.

Why Goa is an exception?

Indian courts, including the Supreme Court, have repeatedly questioned why a UCC has not yet been introduced when the framers of the constitution themselves incorporated it as a guiding principle to lay the groundwork for one. The Supreme Court has called for the implementation of a UCC in a number of orders, including the 1985 Shah Bano case.

“It is interesting to note that the founders of Article 44 of the Constitution … hoped and hoped that the state would try to secure a uniform civil law for citizens across all regions of India, to date no action has been taken in this regard. A division bench said in its order that in the same judgment, it commented that Goa is a “shining example” with which a UCC “applies to all, except for certain limited protections irrespective of religion”. Rights. “

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