Local Goa News

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

This is what the Bombay HC said on regularising illegal structures: “Court cannot tolerate such things”

Parsekar govt’s regularisation ordinance may be in conflict with court’s view that it won’t stand test of reasonableness; alternate view that Maharashtra and Goa have different ground realities

PANJIM Even as the State government is all set to issue an ordinance to regularise the unauthorised structures in Goa, soon, one cannot ignore the recent order of the Bombay High Court pertaining to Maharashtra government’s move to regularise nearly two lakh illegal structures, wherein the judiciary has slammed the latter stating that “Court cannot tolerate such things”. Ironically, both the States are ruled by BJP and are the jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court.
In a final order passed by the Court in April, a division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice Prakash Naik asked Maharashtra government if the regularisation policy, which pertains to illegal structures built before December 31, 2015, can stand the test of reasonableness under Article 14 (Equality before Law) of the Constitution.
In Goa too, the Government has set a cut-off date of February 28, 2014, the structures existing prior to this would be considered for regularisation.  Here too, the legal experts feel that High court order may have repercussions, but will depend on what kind of policy the State comes out with. Few opine that the order may not have any impact, as Goa and Maharashtra, are two different cases.
“The policy almost appeared to provide for people to build first and then apply for permission to get it sanctioned. It has come to this, that under the provisions of the policy, a person can first construct and then go for permission of the construction,” order said. The Court said the policy allows shifting of reservations and protects illegal constructions.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation pertaining to illegal constructions in Digha, Navi Mumbai, in which the government had submitted its policy and sought permission for its implementation.
The Maharashtra government’s policy permitted regularisation of structures constructed on land reserved for schools, playgrounds, roads, open spaces and even government land and those belonging to public authorities. Goa, too is likely to have policy on similar lines, “The Bombay High Court verdict on the regularisation policy is very strong. The Court verdict has to be accepted. It may also have repercussion in Goa too. If someone challenges State policy, then it may also face the same consequence,” former law commissioner Adv Ramakant Khalap reacted.
“But the implication will totally based on the kind of policy state introduces. If it is in sync with High Court order, then it may not have any impact,” he said warning that such policy decisions are “never-ending” and in long run will be “detrimental”.
On the other hand, senior counsel Adv Cleofato Coutinho, who was a member of the same Law Commission, Advocate Khalap headed, claimed that the Maharashtra law and the High Court decision may not apply to Goa as each case is different. “State policy intends to regularise the slum dwelling and this needs to be done as they also provide service to society,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Congress has questioned State government’s hurry to pass the policy cum bill through an ordinance. “I don’t understand the hurry in issuing an ordinance, when the Assembly session is coming up in July. What is the urgency? There seems to be a specific motive behind this,” Congress MLA and spokesperson Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco said.

Team Herald Goa News

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