democratic legislation

In this article, Joaozinho da S. F. A. Martins discusses Infringement of democratic legislation through fraudulent amendments.

Perhaps, for the first time in the history of the Republic of India, consecutive past governments in Goa have succumbed to an ignominious low in governance. The then Congress Government in power clandestinely allowed fraudsters in the Town and Country Planning Department to publish fraudulent amendments to the existing established democratic legislation, namely “The Goa Regulation of Land Development and Building Construction Act, 2008” read with “The Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations, 2010”.

These subtle fraudulent amendments have been unjustifiably imposed upon the unwary Goans through illegal Notification No. 21/1/TCP/2011/Part File/3252 dated 4th August, 2011, published with the purported sanction or assent of the then Governor of the State of Goa, representing the Hon’ble President of India.

Unquestionably, the process of democratic legislation has been desecrated to permit the greedy Builders to prevail in their nefarious plans to go ahead in their construction projects with the sanction of governmental authorities involved. The subsequent BJP Government next stealthily let these same fraudulent Amendments to deliberately continue to exist. It is now left to be seen whether the resurrected BJP Government in Goa backed by its ideologically differing coalition MLAs will take immediate steps to nab the culprits involved and thus take Goa Forward. As otherwise, the same monstrous fraudsters infesting the Town and Country Planning and P.W. Departments will continue to do legal damage to established democratic legislation and subtly allow greedy builders indulge in their blatant destruction of Goa, even as it was the case under the preceding corrupt regimes.

Unequivocally, it is exclusively to facilitate the Builders’ Lobby in securing Technical Clearances to erect concrete jungles in Goa, the following two illogical amendments to the said Land Development and Building Construction Act, 2008 read with Regulations of 2010 have been illegally published in August, 2011 as if the same were a standard Legislative Act of the Government:-

  1. The original logical Regulation 5(f) which, when read with Sub-Division Regulation 12.6c, requiring a minimum10 meter-wide access road to any plot with an effective area above 20 000 m2, has been cunningly deleted. And, the same has been substituted with a new Regulation which contradicts Regulation 12.6c. This substituted Regulation is meaningless and incoherent. As such, the earlier essential Regulation 5 (f) requiring 10 metre-wide Right of Way (access road) to any multi-dwelling construction site that has been done away with, needs to be reinstated.
  2. Next, indiscreet change has been made in Regulation 6 A 4 through the Insertion of Note 16. This ridiculous fake Note 16 allows Technical Clearances to be given even with a mere 6 metres wide access to any site/plot irrespective of its effective area. And, this idiotic Note 16 permits Clearances to Group Housing Projects even when there are blockages on the access-road, such as trees, religious structures, bottle necks, etc. further reducing the 6 metre-width access; and so, permissions can now be freely given irrespective of the nuisance caused to the traffic due to a narrow road plagued with multi-faceted obstacles.

Accordingly, the erstwhile Congress Government let the fraudsters to draft and publish the said Notification No. 21/1/TCP/2011/Part File/3252 in the Official Gazette dated 04/08/2011. In doing so, it enforced upon innocent Goans arbitrary amendments made fraudulently. It can be reasonably concluded that random amendments in the said Act were made in collusion with the Builders who are the sole beneficiaries of the said illegal illogical amendments that failed to catch the attention of the Legal Fraternity in Goa.

Undoubtedly, the said fraudulent amendments have now been relied upon by the Builders’ Lobby to secure easily Technical Clearances and Construction Licenses for their Mega-Housing Projects. For example, Bombay-based Raheja Universal Pvt. Ltd, after having miserably failed in 2008-10 to get Technical Clearance now coolly managed to get the same for their Group Housing Project in the Village of Carmona. And, perhaps, the same sham Amendments may have been used or could be used by other greedy builders who are out to destroy our beautiful land through erection of concrete jungles in the State of Goa.

That the Legislators during the regimes of successive past Governments in Goa allowed such fraudulent amendments to be published is certainly abominable and downright shameful. And, the Memorandum to the Governor of Goa submitted some three months ago requesting to Order the Government of the day to revoke the fraudulent amendments has not borne any result. Nevertheless, the copy of the said Memo to the Governor of Goa that was sent to the President of India has been definitely taken note of. The President through his Secretariat has asked the Chief Secretary of the Government of Goa to take the necessary action.

Anyway, Public Interest Litigation has been filed before the Hon’ble High Court of Bombay at Panaji to quash the said illegal devious amendments. And, further, it is hoped against hope, that the resurrected BJP Government will order a CBI inquiry to nab the culprits in the Town and Country Planning and in other related Government Departments who are thus criminally involved. Only then, due justice could be said to have been rendered to all the concerned aggrieved Goans.

Moreover, it should be mandatory on the part of the current allied BJP Government, with the blessings of the Governor of Goa, to take appropriate immediate measures to prevent such shameful frauds. Only then, such immediate precautionary action will stop the fraudsters from further tampering with established legislation relating to Land Development in the tiny State of Goa.

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