Goa Civil Code can be a model for states seeking to implement UCC: CM Pramod Sawant: The Tribune India
New Delhi, May 8
A uniform civil code is followed in Goa and there has been no communal tension, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said and suggested that his state could be a model for those seeking to implement such legislation.
Sawant was referring to the Civil Code of Goa, under which all communities, including Hindus, Muslims and Christians, in the state are governed by the same law in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, among others. . This code is derived from the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867, which was applicable during Portuguese rule in the state.
BJP-led states such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh have proposed to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as it is an ideological commitment of the party.
“Since the liberation of Goa, the Uniform Civil Code has been followed in the state…There has been no communal tension or other issues due to the UCC in the state. About a third of Goa’s population belongs to minority communities which include 27% Christians and 5-6% Muslims, and there have been no complaints or problems,” Sawant told PTI in an interview.
The Civil Code of Goa is a set of civil laws that governs the residents of the coastal state regardless of their religion and ethnicity.
Citing various positives from the UCC, Sawant said that rather than impacting minorities, it ensures equal rights for women.
The UCC refers to a common set of laws governing personal matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, inheritance and succession, which would apply to all citizens, regardless of their religion, caste and their sex.
“I have been in Electoral Politics for 10 years and I have been Chief Minister of Goa for three years, from my experience I can say that the UCC does not do injustice to anyone but rather guarantees equality of rights for women of all religions. I believe Goa will be a model for all states in implementing the UCC,” he said.
UCC guarantees equal rights for women, it does gender justice, the Chief Minister said.
In March last year, then Indian Chief Justice SA Bobde praised the UCC in the state and said: ‘Goa has what the constitutional framers envisioned for the India – a uniform civil code”.
“And I had the great privilege of administering justice under this code. It applies to marriage and inheritance, governing all Goans regardless of religious affiliation,” he said.
Judge Bobde had also suggested to intellectuals debating the UCC to go to Goa and “learn the administration of justice there” “to know what it is all about”.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has called attempts by various state governments to introduce UCC in India an “unconstitutional and anti-minority move”.