Friday, October 18, 2019

Court In India Reduces Power of Ecclesiastical Courts In Goa

Hindustan Times of Oct. 19 reports:
After hearing two separate petitions filed by persons whose marriages were annulled by a so-called church court, the Bombay high court at Goa has struck down Article 19 of a Portuguese edict that gave legal sanctity to rulings of ecclesiastical tribunals in the former Portuguese colony
The high court said the article was “unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and ultra vires Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.”
The decree in question, Portuguese Decree 35461, has its origin in a 1940 agreement between the government of Portugal and the Holy See.... The decree went into effect in Goa in 1946 and governs marriages and divorces of Catholic couples. But in doing so, it virtually reduced the role of civil courts to administrative bodies, merely tasked with ensuring the execution of orders passed under the decree....
Interpreting the judgement, [a former law commissioner] said that now, couples who seek annulment of a church marriage can approach the ecclesiastical tribunals, but will also have the option of approaching the civil courts to dissolve the civil aspect of marriage....