Panaji: The BJP-led Goa government would amend the Portuguese-era Uniform Civil Code (UCC), introduced in the year 1870, so that non-Goans can register their marriages in the coastal state, the Legislative Assembly was told on Tuesday.
The UCC was introduced by the erstwhile Portuguese rulers. It was retained even after the territory was merged with India in the year 1961. Registration of marriage of non-Goans is currently banned in Goa.
“We would amend the Uniform Civil Code, after which non-Goans can be allowed to register their marriages in the coastal state, which is currently banned under this Portuguese-era law. “Many people want to register their marriages in Goa as the state is governed by the Uniform Civil Code. We will make a provision through amendment so that they will be allowed to do so,” Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said while responding to a Zero Hour mention by BJP MLA Antonio Fernandes. Fernandes said several Goans holding the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card, who are on a short vacation in Goa, find it difficult to register their marriages due to the mandatory provision of maintaining the 15-day gap between two signatures before sub-registrar–one for declaration of intent and the other for confirmation. Responding to this, Law Minister Nilesh Cabral said an amendment will be made to the UCC to do away with the mandatory gap period.
“Currently, a couple that wants to register their marriage can approach court to get this 15-day period absolved,” the minister said.
Goa, a former Portuguese colony, was annexed into the Union of India in 1961. In 1987, Goa was made a separate state.