Author: Riza Rodrigues, LL.M from V.M Salgaocar College of Law, Miramar-Goa
On the 15th of August in the year 1947, our country was finally autonomous and separated from the British. However, whilst the rest of the country was celebrating its independence, Goa was still under foreign Portuguese rule as they established rule and settled in fragmented parts of India. Goa was consequently annexed by the Indian armed forces on the December 19, 1961. Equipped paramilitaries, citizens, the press as well as renowned performers battled for Goa's liberation. The Portuguese were relentlessly persistent to contest India's assertion on its shoreline territory. Worldwide intervention was also unsuccessful to persuade the Portuguese Régime to alter the government’s stance.
The times gone by show us that in the year 1492, our state of Goa formed a portion of the domain of Adil Shah. Subsequently, Afonso de Albuquerque occupied Goa devastating Adil Shahs army in collusion with the aid of the Vijayanagar kingdom. Afonso de Albuquerque sought to create a settlement in addition to a navigational abode. Goa remained the center of the Portuguese Empire in the continent of Asia. In those times, farming and cultivation remained the foremost font of revenue for the majority of the populace. A large variety of fruits and vegetables stood cultured commercially in Goa. Trade of a large variety of foreign merchandises prevailed in the State. Precious gems, ceramic ware and fine silks amongst other such luxury goods were made available. It is important to note that foreign trade was running with the assistance of proceeds and profits which were predominantly derived from Goa. The primary goal of the Portuguese administration was conversely trade, and not a coup d'état.
The freedom effort begun rapidly subsequent to the prompting of Mr. Ram Manohar Lohia in 1946. Mr Lohia and a companion Goan Mr Juliao Menezes cavorted a vital part in the freedom movement. The duo lead the way to the civilian defiance undertaking in contradiction of Salazar's authoritarian command over Goa, in addition to leading numerous supplementary activities. Mr. Menezes pursed a degree in medicine in Berlin where he came across Mr Lohia in the campus. The two meet various times and discussed the state of affairs imminent situation in Goa. Thereafter, the twosome came to the conclusion that something has to be done and proceeded to object to the prohibition on municipal assemblies forced on by the prevalent Portuguese régime. This event is categorized as the major civil disobedience movement in rejection of the 435 year antediluvian Portuguese administration.
The Civil Disobedience Movement imparted a sense of boldness among the Goans and reinforced their morality, encouraging copious loyalists to hurdle into the whirlpool of the independence tussle. It captivated all the administrative assemblies and supporter of independence to join political parties such as the Congress party. The National Congress in Goa lingered as the chief radical party during those times. Numerous nationalists gave up their lives. A number of them were extradited to Portugal, Angola and Cabo Verde for extended terms of detention. Mr. Lohia was apprehended by the authorities and consequently arrested which resulted in the movement’s actuality to be put down. This incident however encouraged Goans to become more involved in administrative proceedings. Individuals started to consolidating, devising and debating events of national importance. This led to a large number of individuals to pursue and become a part of the struggle which ultimately led to autonomy. The participation of the beginning Indian régime in the struggle for Goa was very low-slung at first. In the meantime Portugal stood as a member of the NATO and the newly formed Indian administration was not prepared clash with a NATO country. After a short time, the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Nehru decided to use their power and strength of the Indian army with complete airborne and navigational provision to combat, and thereafter in fewer than 2 days, Goa was take possession of. The prevailing Governor General of Goa signed the categorical submission. Subsequently, the Assembly approved the 12th Amendment Act which officially assimilated the seized terrains to the Union of India. Goa, Daman and Diu was made a Union Territory.
Soon after liberation, the laws pertinent to the rest of the country were overstretched to Goa. However, the family code laws were retained and are still prevalent in the State. This law has been held in high regard as every person wedded as per the prevalent decree enjoys equivalent property rights. This special code has been in existence for centuries together however legitimate tutelage and knowledge on its numerous articles is still deficient. These laws have been written in the Portuguese language and in the context of the Portuguese language which differs even when translated. The Goan government embarked on an undertaking whereby a version of the civil code has been subtracted from the main body and passed in the assembly as an Act. This Act is known as the Goa, Succession, Special Notaries and Inventory Proceedings Act, 2012. Nevertheless, the Portuguese Civil Code has aided in influencing Goa’s broad-based distinctiveness and this imprint must be deliberated upon so that the country can study the law as a model for the country. This lot of decrees contain clutch of exclusive sections like communion of assets, identical property privileges for both genders, in addition to the point that the rules apply unvaryingly to all state residents. The Portuguese Civil Code is a part of Goa’s foreign bygone years and was imposed in the formative years of the then Portuguese, and is every so often flaunted by legislators as an example that promises equality and impartiality. The mandate for a uniform civil code is viciously argued, however, the goal of these laws is primarily that of fairness and equality which will only be attained by fortifying a collective bunch of family rules for one and all. Every law has further scope for improvement and needs to adjust to the changings times, our State family laws are not perfect but they are still an excellent model of an advanced group of decrees, Our reformist laws were also given due regard by the Chief Justice of India, Justice Bobde, during the inaugural function of the new structure of the high court of Bombay at Goa. It is said that our Goan law is goal that our constitution makers had envisioned.
The Laws prevalent in the State of Goa are unique, distinct and one of a kind. Implementing and drafting a code that is uniform to the entire country is a far-reaching goal and must be undertaken. The Portuguese Civil Code has been appreciated by researchers, advocates and even Supreme Court judges in their various judgments. However applying a model of our Portuguese Civil Code to that of our country so as to implement and adapt a uniform civil code throughout the country comes with its challenges. Our laws have been regarded as uniform, however in some aspects our laws are stagnant and uneven and partakes few exclusions for diverse religious convictions. On the whole, all groups are enclosed within the Portuguese Civil Code nevertheless the aforementioned must not remain believed as the flawless model as imagined by the legislators.