PANAJI: Goa Governor Mridula Sinha on Friday released a study conducted by her on ‘Practice and Effects of the Civil Code in Goa’, which has concluded that the Goa Civil Code integrates society and creates social solidarity.The Governor has recommended that the governments at the Centre and in all States should take steps to make pre-marital counselling a prerequisite for marriage registration in all communities.She has emphasised the need to create one-nation identity for women as Indian Woman. The report observes that the status of women from different religions in Goa is much better than that of women elsewhere in the country, and one of the important reasons for this is the Common Civil Code in Goa.The Portuguese Civil Code is applicable to all communities in the State, an erstwhile Portuguese colony.She has compiled the findings after several interactions with women from different religions residing in Goa, and the heads of the various religious groups. The study was intended to understand the impact of the Code on the lives of women of diverse communities in Goa and to look for discrepancies, if any. The objective was also to ascertain how the Code has brought in unity and social harmony among women.The report says the basic problem today is the collapse of family values, leading to alienation of youth. In this context, features of the Goa Civil Code, be it the communion of properties, regime of succession or the compulsory registration of marriage, have brought tolerance in the family structure and strengthened family values.The Governor noted that the Code prohibits polygamy, except in certain circumstances, where the first wife is not able to reproduce till the age prescribed therein. Ms. Sinha does not favour even this exception, as it is against gender equality.Under the code, Muslim men can neither practise polygamy nor is the verbal divorce recognised in the State. Secondly, the Muslim Personal Law Application Act, 1937, has not been extended to Goa.Ms. Sinha has lauded the feature that the contract of marriage can’t end in vanity; mutual consent is essential for contract of marriage.A great feature empowering women is in terms of inheritance. Each spouse jointly holds ownership to the assets earned before marriage, and on divorce, each is entitled to half of these assets. The law also allows pre-nuptial agreement under which the parties can define their shares mutually in case of divorce.A married person requires consent of the other spouse while disposing of property. Also, parents cannot disinherit children entirely, and are required to pass on at least half of their property to their children. And, irrespective of the gender, the inherited property has to be shared equally among children.The Governor adopted the methodology of interacting with women from six communities and a group of religious leaders. She also designed a questionnaire to solicit information.The Governor was impressed with the pre-marital counselling practised in Christianity, as it prepares and educates the prospective bride and groom on the rights and responsibilities arising out of a marriage. The need for pre-marital counselling was supported by women of all communities. She has also appreciated the practice in some religions of counselling in cases of divorce, and granting it after due course. The decision, if any, in such cases is ratified by the Family Courts. She also observed that for marriages, the Church facilitates transfer of documents to the registrar once the marriage is solemnised in Church, and therefore the couple visits the registrar’s office only once. Ms. Sinha was of the view that such a practice may be extended to Hindus as well as Muslims.