The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court has taken suo motu cognisance of an article published in a local daily entitled Constitutionalism and Judicial lapse in Goa and converted it into public interest litigation.
The subject of this suo motu PIL would be the non-availability of official translation of the Portuguese Civil Code of 1869, the bench of Justice Anoop Mohta and Justice Nutan Sardessai said.
Dr. Marian Pinheiro, a law professor and former dean, faculty of law, Goa University, is the author of this article published in the Herald newspaper on March 15.
In the article, Dr. Pinheiro pointed out how even after the liberation of Goa in 1961, “most of the Portuguese Civil Code of 1867 continued to be effective and enforced by the courts in India (Goa)”.
Dr. Pinheiro noted in the article that many a times, judges of the Bombay High Court would face problems due to confusion in translation of provisions of the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867.
Even earlier judgments, where this civil law had been applied, were also in Portuguese language.
More significantly, the lack of any English translation of the Portuguese Civil Code was violative of Article 348 of the Constitution, Dr. Pinheiro said.
“It is unfortunate that the courts in Goa used to apply or interpret the Portuguese Civil Code based on some published works of lawyers and jurists though that was not all the procedure prescribed by the Constitution of India,” he said.
A notice was issued to the state government; the next date of hearing is Mar. 22.
The order stated: The State Government to clarify whether there is any official notification of the English translation of the Code is available and/or published? If not, the time, they would require to take appropriate steps including translation of the Code and its due publication in the official Gazette.
Read the Order here.