What is the Uniform Civil Code that exist in Goa?

Feb5,2024 #UCC #Uniform civil code
UCC Law Insider

By Saurav Yadav

Published on: February 5, 2024 at 13:15 IST

UCC, Uniform Civil Code the term you must be listening or is in the news headlines from the last few years Uniform Civil Code has the potential to promote equality and streamline legal processes. 

Goa is the only state in India that has a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) applicable to all its residents, irrespective of their religion. The Goa Civil Code, also known as the Goa Family Law, is a set of laws that govern personal matters such as marriage, divorce, and succession for all residents of Goa, regardless of their religious affiliations.

It’s important to note that the rest of India follows different personal laws for different religious communities concerning matters such as marriage, divorce, and succession. The implementation of a Uniform Civil Code at the national level has been a topic of debate and discussion in India. However, Uttarakhand Currently is almost ready with its final draft of UCC, and ready for implementation of UCC.

In this article we will be delving into the of Goa’s Uniform Civil code. 

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a set of laws aimed at creating a uniform legal framework for personal matters for all citizens of India, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is one rulebook for everyone in the country when it comes to personal matters like getting marriage, divorce, inheriting property, or adopting children. Right now, different rules apply to people based on their religion. The idea of a UCC is to make these rules the same for everyone, no matter what religion they follow. It’s about treating everyone equally under the law when it comes to personal and family matters. This idea is to bring people together and make sure everyone gets the same rights and treatment.

The Uniform Civil Code proposes to replace diverse personal laws with a single, common set of laws applicable to all citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs. In India, different personal laws exist for people belonging to different religions. For example, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and other communities follow distinct laws regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance, and other personal matters. The idea of a UCC has been a subject of ongoing debate and discussions in India, with proponents emphasizing its potential benefits in fostering unity and equality.

UCC aims to provide equal rights and treatment to all citizens, promoting a sense of equality under the law. It seeks to foster national integration by removing legal distinctions based on religion.

It’s important to note that family laws in India are currently governed by personal laws based on an individual’s religion, such as Hindu Marriage Act, Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, Indian Christian Marriage Act, and others. The implementation of a Uniform Civil Code would require legislative action and is often considered a complex and sensitive issue.

There is clear provision about Uniform Civil Code under the Constitution of India, in Part – IV of Indian Constitution it deals with the directive principle of state policy (DPSP) and under this part in the Article 44 it has been mentioned about the UCC and its implementation.

Article 44 in Constitution of India –

Article 44 – Uniform civil code for the citizens

The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

Article 44 specifically talks about the endeavor to establish a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens of India. The objective is to replace the personal laws based on different religions and customs with a common set of laws governing matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption, providing a uniform legal framework for all citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

A long time ago, in 1510, people from Portugal (a country in Europe) came and set up a place called Goa. Over the years, the Portuguese expanded Goa’s boundaries during the 1600s and 1700s, making it bigger. In 1961, India took control of it from the Portuguese on 19 December 1961. After taking over, Goa it became a part of a bigger group called a Union Territory, along with Daman and Diu.

Goa went from being a Portuguese colony to becoming a part of India, first as a Union Territory, and then it became a full-fledged state with its own districts.

The Portuguese Civil Code, written 156 years ago in Lisbon. Even after Goa became a part of India in 1961, it decided to keep using this unique rulebook, making it different from other states. Back then, Goa had only around six lakh (600,000) people. Despite being part of India, it chose to stick with the old Portuguese rules. Unlike other places with different rules for different religions. This makes Goa stand out because, even though it’s in India, it has its own set of rules that apply to everyone, regardless of their religion. Goa kept using an old rulebook from Portugal, and it’s the only state in India where everyone, no matter their religion, follows the same set of rules. It’s like having a special code that unites everyone in Goa!

The Goa Civil Code is a set of laws that governs everything from marriages to inheritances, making it distinct. Picture this as a legal legacy from the time when Goa was under Portuguese rule. After becoming more than just a colony, Goa got its own set of laws, a mix of Indian and Portuguese flavors.

The Goa Civil Code takes inspiration from the Napoleonic Code, a set of laws followed in several European countries. It’s like blending a bit of European legal tradition with the Goan way of life. These laws aren’t your usual run-of-the-mill rules. They cover a range of things, from how people get married to who gets what when it comes to family property. the Goa Civil Code is more than just a set of laws – it’s a legal legacy shaped by Portuguese history, inspired by European legal traditions, and tailored to suit the people and culture of Goa.

Goa is the only state in India that has a UCC in place. The Uniform Civil Code of Goa, Daman, and Diu was enacted in 1987. This legal framework applies to all residents of the state, irrespective of their religion, and governs matters related to marriage, divorce, succession, and property.

The UCC in Goa is applicable to all residents, regardless of their religious beliefs. It is a departure from the personal laws that govern these matters in other parts of the country based on an individual’s religion.

The UCC in Goa adopts a secular approach, ensuring that legal matters related to personal issues are not influenced by religious considerations. This aligns with the constitutional principles of equality and secularism.

Key features of the Goa Civil Code include:

  • Uniformity: The Goa Civil Code provides a uniform set of laws for all residents, regardless of their religion. This contrasts with the rest of India, where personal laws are often based on religious practices. In other parts of India, personal laws related to marriage, divorce, and inheritance are often governed by religious scriptures. In Goa, however, these matters are regulated by a common civil code for all residents.
  • Succession and Inheritance: The code governs matters related to succession and inheritance, providing a consistent framework for property distribution and succession rights. If a person in Goa passes away without leaving a will, the Goa Civil Code would dictate how the property is distributed among the legal heirs, specifying the shares of spouses, children, and other relatives.
  • Marriage: The Goa Civil Code regulates aspects of marriage, including conditions for a valid marriage, rights and responsibilities of spouses, and procedures for divorce. Marriage under the Goa Civil Code enables a particular type of polygamy for Hindus but does not extend the Shariat Act to Muslims living in Goa, who are instead subject to both Portuguese law and Shastric Hindu law. The law also doesn’t recognize bigamy or polygamy, including for Muslims, but grants an exception to a Hindu man to marry once again if his wife doesn’t conceive a child by the age of 21 or a male child by the age of 30.
  • Marriage Registration: The UCC mandates the registration of marriages, irrespective of the religion of the parties involved. This is aimed at creating a transparent and uniform system for recording marital unions.
  • Dissolution of Marriages: The procedures for divorce and annulment are governed by a standardized set of rules, eliminating the need for individuals to follow different processes based on their religious affiliations.
  • Family Matters: The code covers various family matters, such as adoption and guardianship, ensuring uniformity in legal provisions for these issues. If a couple in Goa wishes to adopt a child, the procedures and legal requirements would be outlined in the Goa Civil Code. Similarly, matters related to guardianship of minors would be governed by the same set of laws for all residents.

Although the Goa Civil Code, which was given by the Portuguese in 1867. Hindus, Muslims, and Christians in Goa are all subject to the same laws on marriage, divorce, and succession, Goa is the only state where UCC has been in operation for many years, this code still has some flaws. Hindus, Muslims, and Christians in Goa are all subject to the same laws on marriage, divorce, and succession. The Goa Daman and Diu Administration Act of 1962, which was passed after Goa joined the union as a territory in 1961, gave the state of Goa permission to apply the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867, subject to amendment and repeal by the appropriate legislative body.

The implementation of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) can have several positive impacts on the legal and social landscape of a nation. Here are some of the potential positive impacts of adopting a UCC:

  1. Promotion of Equality and Uniformity in Personal Laws: The implementation of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) promotes a sense of equality among citizens by ensuring that the same set of laws govern personal matters for everyone, irrespective of their religious affiliations. The uniformity in laws prevents preferential treatment based on religious grounds, fostering a legal environment where individuals are subject to the same rules regardless of their faith.
  2. Prevention of Discrimination Based on Religious Grounds: One of the primary positive impacts of a UCC is the prevention of discrimination on religious grounds. Personal laws based on religious traditions often lead to differential treatment, especially in matters of marriage, divorce, and inheritance. A UCC eliminates such discriminatory practices, upholding the principles of equality enshrined in the Constitution.
  3. Simplification of Legal Processes Related to Marriage, Divorce, and Inheritance: A UCC streamlines and simplifies legal processes related to personal matters, making them more accessible and understandable for citizens. Uniform laws for marriage, divorce, and inheritance reduce legal complexities, leading to a more straightforward and efficient legal system.

The implementation of a Uniform Civil Code in Goa sets the state apart as a trailblazer in promoting equality and uniformity in personal laws. The Goa experience provides insights into the possibilities and challenges associated with the enactment of a UCC at the national level. While the debate on a UCC continues on the national stage, Goa’s unique approach serves as a case study for understanding the potential benefits and complexities of a uniform legal framework for personal matters.

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