The Supreme Court Of India vide its Judgment dated 13.09.2019 in the matter of Jose Pualo Coutinho vs. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira and Anr, observed that till date there has been no efforts and attempts made to frame a Uniform Civil Code applicable to all citizens of the Country. This comment was made while the Court was deciding a personal law matter pertaining to a Goan couple. The Court observed that the Government has failed to give attention to Article 44 of the Indian Constitution and promulgate a Uniform Civil Code for the entire country. It further commented that despite a passage of 63 years since the codification of Hindu Law in 1956 no action has been taken to codify a Uniform Civil Code for all religious sectors.
The Bench comprising of Justice Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose while delivering a verdict in a divorce case of a Goan couple, said that Goa where the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867 is applicable held that this case was a ‘shining example’ for the Government to enforce a Uniform Civil Code.
The Supreme Court wrote “Whereas the founders of the Constitution in Article 44 in Part IV dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy had hoped and expected that the State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territories of India, till date no action has been taken in this regard.”
Justice Aniruddha Bose observed while holding that it will be the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867 as applicable in the State of Goa, which shall govern all personal law issues including the rights of succession and inheritance even in respect of properties of a Goan domicile situated outside Goa, anywhere in India.
With this judgment the Supreme Court of India has brought on centre stage the urgent necessity of implementing a Uniform Civil Code for the country. This judgment can give momentum to the Modi lead BJP Government in taking a decision towards enforcing of a Uniform Civil Code.
SOURABH KUMAR MISHRA
Senior Legal Associate
The Indian Lawyer