JAGO, BHARAT JAGO!

ON Friday, March 8, on Women’s Day we need to point out that women in Goa do not need Modi’s guarantee to be empowered.  Women in Goa are empowered by the Uniform Civil Code. The Central government allowed the Portuguese uniform civil code to be continued even after Liberation. Under the uniform civil code, both women and men have equal right to property.

 Under the Hindu, Muslim and Christian personal law, only the made children can inherit property. Traditionally, the dowry or gifts given by the Hindu family is the only wealth that the woman have control over. It is referred to as “stree dhan.”‘ With Muslims the “meher” is the exclusive property of  women. There is nothing official about it as dowry is illegal. Under the Uniform Civil Code after the death of a husband 50% of the property automatically goes to the wife. The wife has total control over half of the husband’s property and even income while he is alive. Which is why for tax purposes the husband can split his income between himself and his wife.

All couples have to go through a civil marriage in Goa. Only after the civil marriage is registered can the couple have a religious marriage. This applies both to nikah of the Muslim community and church wedding of Christian community. Hindus too have to enter into a civil marriage before they can have a religious ceremony. The Christian priest and Masjid maulana have accepted this in Goa. They will not marry a couple without a civil registration certificate.

This only applies to those born in Goa and   domiciled in Goa. Many migrants prefer to get married outside the state as they do not want to go by the civil marriage. In other parts of the country, inter-caste marriages can only be performed through a special marriage act.  In Goa, you do not need permission from the church for divorce. Similarly, it is not possible to get a divorce by saying talaq three times. If the marriage runs into trouble you can get a legal divorce.

To make women strong Goans do not need the Narendra Modi guarantee. They already have the guarantee of the uniform civil code. Indeed, the BJP has promised to introduce the uniform civil code at the national level.

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