Goa mulls changes in marriage laws

June 12th, 2009 - 4:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Sanjay Dutt Panaji, June 12 (IANS) Months after Goa’s marriage laws rendered film star Sanjay Dutt’s marriage illegal, a legislative committee has recommended that the provision of a compulsory one month residence proof for couples be scrapped.
Chairman of the ad hoc committee on law Francis D’Souza said that the clause was hampering Goa’s prospects of becoming a sought after wedding destination.

“This clause is creating trouble for those foreigners and people of Goan-origin settled abroad who want to get married in the state,” D’souza said Friday.

The Sanjay Dutt-Manyata wedding Feb 7 was declared illegal by the Goan authorities after it came to light that the certificate of domicile submitted by Manyata, showing her as a resident of Margao, was bogus.

The law in Goa defines marriage as a civil contract between two people of different sexes, irrespective of religion. However the law also requires one month’s temporary domicile in Goa, duly certified by a junior government revenue official, before marriage.

“There are so many youngsters working abroad who will lose their job if they remain absent for one month. This clause needs to be changed,” the former law minister said, adding that the desperation to procure certificates, encouraged large-scale corruption among the lower rung revenue officials.

Senior officials from the law department present at the meeting, however, argued that the mandatory residential permit clause was essential to ward off possibilities of cheating or charges of bigamy.

Marriage laws in Goa are a legacy of the Portuguese colonial rule in the state, which made marriages compulsorily registrable, i.e. only a proper civil registration is considered as evidence of marriage after submission of a domicile and birth certificates.

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