The Registration of Marriages in Goa is under the Portuguese Civil Registration Code, 1911 and this law being not contrary to any of the constitutional provisions still continues to be in force to date.
But the Goa Government headed by then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on 17th January 2014 hurriedly issued a notification appointing all Sub-Registrars in Goa as "Marriage Officers" under Special Marriage Act 1954 without even that Act being extended to our State. It was done to solely facilitate the high profile marriage of former Solicitor General of India Harish Salve's daughter to be registered in Goa under that Act. On the strength of that notification on 24th February that marriage was solemnized at now fugitive Vijay Mallya's then King Fisher Villa at Candolim in the presence of the Mapusa Sub Civil Registrar and a host of VVIPs.
The ulterior motives of the Government in acting so swiftly and issuing the notification in a tearing hurry in just one day was highly questionable. Even the Chief Secretary's views were not sought which was in complete breach of the Rules of Business, especially in a matter having widespread ramifications. To shield his friend Harish Salve, the then Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni abdicated in his bounden duty by not placing the correct legal position before the government.
That notification was obviously issued to allow just that one marriage as the Goa Government over the last seven years has not permitted any other marriage under that Act. It would be prudent for the government to immediately withdraw that retrograde and now idling notification dated 17th January 2014 and apologise to the people of Goa for having high-handedly and malafiedly tweaked the law to benefit just one person.
When will the government realize that nobody is above the law and that the law cannot be twisted and warped for a particular person's benefit, however rich, mighty or well-connected? And above all, Harish Salve should have acted responsibly by not making a request which was contrary to the law.