Goa Governor Mridula Sinha has lauded a Portuguese-era civil code that barred Muslim men from practising polygamy or verbal divorce in Goa. “Under this code, Muslim men can neither practice polygamy nor is verbal divorce recognised in the state, because no such provision exists in the Code…. The Muslim Personal Law Application Act, 1937, has not extended to the State of Goa,” Sinha has written in a study that was released on Friday.
The study — ‘The Practice and Effects of Civil Code in Goa’— comes at a time when the debate on triple talaq is gaining momentum. Sinha conducted it based on her interaction with women of six communities and group of religious leaders living in the state, according to a statement from the Goa government’s Department of Information and Publicity office.
“On understanding the practices of each religion… the Governor was impressed with the practice of premarital counselling practised in Christianity, which prepares and educates the prospective bride and groom on their rights and responsibilities arising out of their marriage,” according to the statement. Highlighting the importance of counselling, Sinha observes, “The need for premarital counselling was supported by women of all communities since counselling saves many marriages and families from breaking.”
“She also observed that for marriages, the church facilitates transfer of documents to registrar once the marriage is solemnised there, and therefore the couple visits registrar’s office only once,” the government statement reads. It adds that the practice should be extended to Hindus and Muslims. With a special recommendation on pre-marriage counselling to be designed across communities, Sinha also suggests that the “basic problems in today’s world have evolved from the collapse of family values, leading to alienation of youth”.