Goa Civil Code can be model for UCC; it hasn't led to any communal tension: CM Pramod Sawant

Citing various positives of the UCC, Sawant said rather than impacting minorities, it ensures equal rights for women
Last Updated 08 May 2022, 14:51 IST

A uniform civil code is being followed in Goa and there has not been any communal tension, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said and suggested that his state can be a model for those seeking to implement such a legislation.

Sawant was referring to the Goa Civil Code, under which all communities, including Hindus, Muslims and Christians, in the state are governed by the same law when it comes to marriage, divorce, succession, among others. This code is derived from the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867, which was applicable during the Portuguese rule in the state.

BJP-ruled 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 is being followed in the state…There has not been any communal tension or any other issues due to the UCC in the state. About one-third of Goa's population belong to minority communities which include 27 per cent Christians and five to six per cent Muslims, and there have not been any complaints or problems,” Sawant told PTI in an interview.

The Goa Civil Code is a set of civil laws that governs the residents of the coastal state irrespective of their religion and ethnicity.

Citing various positives of the UCC, Sawant said 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, that would apply to all citizens irrespective of their religion, caste and gender.

“I have been in electoral politics for the last 10 years and have been chief minister of Goa for the last three years, from my experience, I can say that the UCC does not do injustice with anyone, rather it ensures equal rights for women from all religions. I feel that Goa will be a model for all states in implementing UCC,” he said.

The UCC ensures equal rights for women, it does gender justice, the chief minister said.

In March last year, the then Chief Justice of India SA Bobde had lauded the UCC in the state and had said," Goa has what Constitutional framers envisaged for India – a Uniform Civil Code."

"And I have had the great privilege of administering justice under that Code. It applies in marriage and succession, governing all Goans irrespective of religious affiliation,” he had said.

Justice Bobde had also suggested intellectuals debating about UCC to visit Goa and “learn the administration of justice” there “to know what it turns out to be”.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has termed attempts by various state governments to introduce the UCC in India as “an unconstitutional and anti-minorities move”.

(Published 08 May 2022, 14:09 IST)

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