New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday batted for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country, ruing that nothing has been done to achieve this, despite repeatedly being ‘nudged’ by the apex court to do so.
It further cited Goa as a ‘shining example’ as it has a UCC applicable to all regardless of religion, ‘except while protecting certain limited rights.’
A 2-judge bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose made these observations while giving a verdict in which it held that the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867, which is the ‘UCC’ of Goa, will govern rights of succession and inheritance in respect of properties of a Goan domicile situated anywhere in the country.
In its 31-page verdict, the bench noted that ‘there has been no attempt to frame a UCC applicable to all citizens of the country despite exhortations of this court.’
The case, in which the SC gave its verdict, pertained to a question as to whether the Portuguese Civil Code can be said to be a foreign law and the principles of private international law are applicable. The bench observed that these laws wouldn’t be applicable unless recognised by the Government of India and as such the Portuguese Civil Code was still applicable in Goa only because of an Act of the Parliament of India.
Another question that the court dealt with was as to whether the property of a Goan domicile, situated outside the state, would be governed by the Portuguese Civil Code or by the Indian Succession Act or by personal laws, as applicable in the rest of the country.
On this, the bench noted that the Portuguese Civil Code, being a special Act applicable only to domiciles of Goa, would be applicable to Goan domiciles in respect to all the properties within and outside Goa.
India is currently witnessing a massive debate on the Uniform Civil Code, with appeals being made that personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community with a common set of rules governing every citizen.