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How is the Portuguese Civil Code A Part Of The Indian law?


In the state of Goa, many laws are still followed by the colonial era of the Portuguese Rule. Goa becomes independent from the Portuguese Rule in 1961. The Goa Civil Code, also called the Goa Family Law, is the set of civil laws that governs the native residents of the Indian state of Goa and Damaon. The Goan civil code was introduced after Portuguese Goa and Damaon were elevated from being mere Portuguese colonies to the status of a Província Ultramarina (Overseas possession) in 1869 AD.



The Goa civil code is largely based on the Portuguese Civil Code (Código Civil Português) of 1867, which was introduced in Goa in 1870. Later, the code saw some modifications. The civil code was retained in Goa after its merger with the Indian Union in 1961, although in Portugal, the original Code was replaced by the new Portuguese Civil Code of 1966.



Recently Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (Case: Jose Paulo Coutinho Vs. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira & Anr.) held that the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867 shall govern the rights of succession and inheritance even in respect of properties of a Goan domicile situated outside Goa, anywhere in India. It observed that though of Portuguese origin, the civil code has been enforced in its former colonial possessions of Goa, Daman, and Diu by an Act of Parliament, which makes it an Indian law. Signifying the democratic values of the world's largest democracy, the court observed: "The Portuguese law which may have had foreign origin became a part of the Indian laws, and, in sum and substance, is an Indian law. It is no longer a foreign law."

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