SC dismisses plea against Cidade, upholds Digambar’s ordinance

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 29 March 2016 23:08 IST

The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition by Goa Foundation, challenging ordinance passed by erstwhile Digambar Kamat government, amending 122-year old Land Acquisition Act, claiming that it was brought to save Cidade de Goa hotel.

While upholding the ordinance, the apex court also dismissed the claim of Goa Foundation that the ordinance was passed to save a single entity – Cidade de Goa owned by Fomento Resorts & Hotels Ltd.

Kamat got the ordinance promulgated in 2009 and got the Land Acquisition Act 1894 amended later in the Assembly after the Supreme Court passed an order to demolish the extended part of Cidade de Goa constructed in 1000 sq mts of land.

The government land at Dona Paula beach was handed over to Cidade de Goa in 1983 for tourism development, with a condition to create sports and recreational amenities, not to construct any building there and not to obstruct public access to the Vainguinim beach.  

The Supreme Court order states: “there is no dispute with regard to the fact that with effect from 26.3.1985 the (Cidade de Goa) was put in possession of the land in question and (it) had provided   sports and recreational facilities/amenities on the acquired land.”

Later, in 1991-92, Town and Country Planning Board and Panaji Planning and Development Board granted permission to Cidade to extend its hotels buildings in 1000 sq mts of area in this total land of 19,114 sq mts.

Goa Foundation challenged this construction and the Bombay high court at Goa ordered demolition of the extended structures and resume the land on 25 April 2000.

The appeal made by Cidade de Goa in Supreme Court was dismissed 2009, while also directing Fomento to hand over the land back to Panaji PDA within three months and file a report in this regard before the Bombay high court.

Following this, Kamat government got the ordinance promulgated on 28 February 2009, adding four sub-sections to section 41 of the Land Acquisition Act, providing legal sanctity to the subsequent agreements made from the date of the original agreement made.

This ordinance, which was also passed in the Assembly later, was challenged by Goa Foundation, alleging that it was brought to save Cidade de Goa from getting demolished.

The Supreme Court, in today’s judgement, dismissed this allegation, stating that “the argument that the Goa State Amendment was intended to benefit a singular entity i.e. (Cidade de Goa) is without any basis whatsoever.”

“The aforesaid Cabinet decision (of Kamat Govt) clearly indicates that the exercise undertaken was more broad based than what the petitioners (Goa Foundation) would like us to hold.  In fact, there is a detailed reference, by names, in the said Cabinet decision to several other groups and corporations who are similarly situated as the third respondent,” stated the 31-page judgement.

(Click below to read the complete order)

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