Prof Ave Cleto Afonso on Thursday (July 17, 2014) drew a packed crowd at the Goa Book Club. They came to hear him talk about his recently translated-into-English book on Goans reclaiming their Portuguese nationality/citizenship.

With so many Goans opting to reclaim Portuguese citizenship even five decades after Lisbon’s rule ended, the issue has been hotly debated here. It is seen to have social, political and other implications.

Prof. Ave Cleto Afonso is the translator of a book called Portuguese Citizenship of Persons Born In The Erstwhile Estado Da India And Of Their Descendants.

Hosted by the Goa Book Club

Afonso was hosted by the Goa Book Club, which meets at the Broadway Book Centre, on 18th June Road (near Raga and Rock). This meeting was held on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 5 pm.

Afonso is also the author or translator of a number of other books. These deal with subjects like Goan laws, the Hindus of Goa, panchayati raj, tourism, Goan family laws, an Italian-Konkani dictionary, and even a response to Portugal’s greatest poets in Camoean verse.

Also of interest, might be another of his books on Goa family laws also published by Broadway). Goa’s complex laws of succession and inventory, a legacy from Portuguese times here, got a new translation, with a release of a book on the topic by Ave Cleto Afonso.

Published by Broadway Book Centre of Panjim, The ‘Portuguese’ Law of Goa: Succession & inventory is a 448-page large sized book and is priced at Rs 995.

English translation of the original

The book contains English translation of the original text in Portuguese of selected articles of Código Civil Português of 1867 and of Código de Processo Civil of 1939, which are in force in Goa till date, besides some other material.

It seeks to provides access to the text of the current law, in a verbatim translation. The additional material consists of authoritative notations to most of the articles, texts of some law-decrees, orders, ordinances, enactments etc. (pre- and post-1961) to indicate the historical context of this law, and to facilitate the interpretation of some of the specific provisions of the two Codes.

In an introduction, editor-translator Afonso explains that the personal laws of Goa are non-sectarian and ‘uniformly’ applied to followers of different religions as constituting one single non-sectarian community. This is, notwithstanding some exceptions to Catholics and to Hindus on account of their essential customs and usages.

Personal Law of Goa applies only to Goans.

Goans can be defined, in law and in jurisprudence, with reference to their Personal Law. This, in its turn, is based on Goan ancestry, and its two dimensions — the geographical and the historical, says the book.

It points to the need to amend and save the Personal Law of Goans, and it underlines the historical context of the current Personal Law of Goa. It also outlines the dynamics of the present translation of Portuguese text.

This book also includes the Portuguese text (original) of selected articles, with respective annotations, of the Código Civil Português of 1867 (amended in 1930) on testamentary and legal succession, and of Código de Processo Civil Português of 1939 on Inventory.

In addition, it has the English version of the above referred to selected articles. It also has the respective annotations, alongside the Portuguese text, of the said Portuguese Civil Code of 1867 (as amended in 1930) on testamentary and legal succession and of Portuguese Civil Procedure Code of 1939, on Inventory proceedings.

Laws still in force

Information and lists of old Portuguese laws still in force in Goa, and of those which have already been translated into English, are included in the book.

Transition legislation, from the post-1961 period is included. Such as The Goa, Daman and Diu (Administration) Ordinance, 1962; The Goa, Daman and Diu (Administration) Removal of Difficulties Order, 1962; and The Goa, Daman and Diu (Extension of the Code of Civil Procedure and Arbitration Act) Act, 1965.

So is The Goa, Daman and Diu (Citizenship) Order, 1962 of Government of India, of March 28, 1962, and Order No. 175/2/MG of Military Government of Goa, Daman and Diu, dated May 31, 1962.

There is a glossary of important terms and expressions in Portuguese (with English meaning) as used in the translation.

There are links to case law and rulings (assentos) by superior courts, including Supreme Court in Lisbon. Also included key explanations concerning the scope of specific provisions, and cross referencing to other articles or provisions in the Civil Code itself or in other laws bearing on the matter under a given article.

In alterations and amendments brought about by supplemental legislation, or other laws. (For example, certain provisions of Civil Code, having adjectival import, stand altered by provisions of Code of Civil Procedure, or Notarial Code, or Code of Civil Registration, etc, and this fact is indicated by the notations as revoked, etc) c) Additional articles.

Additional articles

This book includes translation of many additional articles — articles which are considered not to have been expressly saved. This has been done in view of their relevance for the general context and interpretation of the ‘Portuguese’ legislation currently in force in Goa; or as supplemental provision to a given article.

There is also the pre-1961 historical context included at some points. The book brings bring on record important provisions of law of the post-Liberation period. This helps to indicate the new historical context for the ‘Portuguese’ Law of Goa, and to explain the legal basis for the continuance of the old law here. The post-1961 historical context is also explained.

“Unlike some other works on the subject presently available in Goa, this book has the original text of the Law in Portuguese, alongside the text of translation,” says Ave Cleto Afonso.

Ave Cleto Afonso, 66, completed Lyceum at Liceu Nacional. He later did an MA in Philosophy and a Bachelor of Laws, Goa University.

After a stint in journalism, he taught Philosophy for graduate and post-graduate courses at college and university levels. He also functioned as private consultant in Personal Law of Goa. In 2008 he translated into English the book The Hindus of Goa and the Portuguese Republic (of the original Portuguese work by Justice Antonio de Noronha, 1922). That also has been published by Broadway Book Centre.

Contacts: Ave Cleto Afonso Ph 9822387830 aaveto at

One Response so far.

Leave a Reply