June 4, 2021 1:53:32 am
Three days after Goa law minister Nilesh Cabral announced that the state government will start compulsory premarital counselling sessions for couples registering for marriage, the state BJP unit has opposed the idea and asked Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to nip it in the bud.
State BJP president Sadanand Tanavade said, “In Goa, we have the common civil code so the registration of marriage is compulsory for all religions and castes. The government has now decided to additionally start compulsory premarital counseling. This is because of a rise in divorces. We think this is not right. What is counselling by the government going to do? Your own parents and elders are the biggest counsellors.”
Tanavade said that according to data he had looked up, the average number of divorces in the country is 0.24 percent and in Goa, it is 0.18 percent. “On an average, there are about 10,000 marriages in Goa (annually) and government officials counselling 20,000 people I feel is wrong. We have asked the chief minister to put an end to this issue. This will only inconvenience people and achieve nothing.”
“When there are arranged marriages, everyone in the family has a discussion and no longer is anyone forced to marry someone they may not want to. People now have the freedom to take their decision. The government stepping in to separately counsel the couple, I feel, is wrong. According to my information, 0.18 percent people get divorced. And it’s not the case that people get married today and get divorced tomorrow. Some get divorced 25 years after marriage. This (compulsory premartital counseling) will make no difference,” said Tanavade.
On May 31, Cabral had said that the department of registration is set to come up with a programme for counselling couples in the 15 days between the registration and the solemnisation of marriage. “Annulment of marriage is a concern. A lot of marriages are getting annulled in a matter of two to four months, a year or three years. Within our department, we were worried,” Cabral had said. “The annulment of a marriage has to be notified. If you go to the Gazetteer of Goa, you will see that there are at least 10-15 marriages annulled every 15 days,” said Cabral.
Community leaders had said that the Catholic community in Goa already has premarital counselling for couples held by the Church. However, the government had proposed to hold counselling sessions for couples across religions, which would have been a first in Goa. He said that as a “social responsibility” of the department of registration, they then decided to come up with a premarital counselling programme in which couples would be issued their marriage certificate only after attending the counseling session.