Thursday 20 September 2018

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India to adopt Portuguese civil code ?

 

Top legal authorities from India and Portugal are planning to sit in Goa for three days the next week to explore the possibility of extending the Portuguese civil code, existing in the former Portuguese colony, to the rest of the country, for the purpose of codification of civil law.

M S Usgaonkar, additional solicitor general of India, who is organising the seminar from May 14 onwards here on behalf of the Vaikuntrao Dempo Centre for Indo-Portuguese Studies, has however kept the uniform civil code out of its purview.

The seminar is also aimed at exploring the possibility of applying Portuguese civil code, which was later amended in 1966 in Portugal, in Goa, if it suits Indian conditions. The code enforced in 1867 here is still unaltered.

The local advocates associations however have strongly objected to the holding of the seminar, pointing out that the existing civil code in Goa is neither systematically codified, serialised nor translated from Portuguese to English. It's an exercise in futility, they allege.

Refuting the allegations, Usgaonkar hopes that the exercise would help in comparing the Portuguese and Goan civil codes as well as the civil law system in Goa and the common law system in the rest of the country, which would help in realising benefits of the Goan system.

The seminar also plans to know the scope and ambit of the new code to Indian conditions, especially stressing upon the family law, the succession law as well as the area of marital regimes of property and succession.

Goa's civil code has more scope, states Usgaonkar, like Article 16 provides for a solution from the spirit of the law, then by applying principles of analogy and even by applying natural law, if a dispute cannot be resolved merely by applying the express words of the law. The common law prevalent in the rest of the country however has to wait for the legislatures to fill the lacunae.

Deliberations are also being planned on conflicts of law, especially in the area of family law, when a non-Goan becomes part of a Goan family. It also plans to cover writ jurisdiction and the administrative code.

Besides present and former chief justices of India as well as members of law faculty in the country, legal authorities from Portugal will also participate in the deliberations. They include Union law minister Ramakant Khalap, Chief Justice of India Justice J S Verma, Procurador Geral da Republic (Attorney General of Portugal) Jose Narcisco Cunha Rodrigues.

Divided into six sessions, legal authorities like National Human Rights Commission chairman M N Venkatchalia, former chief justice Y V Chandrachud, Press Council chairman justice P B Sawant, Law commission chairman Justice Jaychandra Reddy will also participate.






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