#TheyToo – The Judges

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

The discussions that have followed the press conference by the four judges of the Supreme Court, as well as certain directives to the lower judiciary regarding the manner of maintenance of the case information system, have brought into sharp focus the fact that they too – the judges – must be held accountable and that they too – the judges, can be victims of systemic deficiencies.

 

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My Way – the Highway

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

As 2018 begins, a major challenge facing those standing for Goa is to ensure the reversal of the laws, and legislative and executive moves that have resulted in the continued dispossessing of Goa and its people of its land and resources. Throughout 2017, the Centre and the State have legislated or moved in ways that have posed alarming threats. The attitude of the state and its enforcement mechanisms has been My Way the Highway.

 

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Illegal but Legalisable: On What Basis?

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

Goa is about to make sale and development of orchard land a criminal offence that could attract imprisonment of one year. When revealing this information, Vijai Sardesai, the Town and Country Planning Minister claimed that 20 lakh square metres of land had been illegally converted across Goa, and that an amnesty period would be given to those who had illegally developed land to seek conversion from the Town and Country Planning Board by March 31, 2018.

 

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Recent State Decisions and Recommendations: More Nails in the Coffin for Goans and for Tourism?

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

Commodification of the environment for tourism in Goa is reaching endemic proportions. It has the potential to kill the very goose of environment that could lay the golden eggs of revenue and income generation from tourism. The Government dismisses such critical ecological concerns as the work of naysayers, and argues that no development can occur if every time a new project is proposed, environmental concerns are brought to the drawing board to oppose it. However, if people’s concerns about environment are not addressed, then the insensitively planned projects that follow have the potential of completely destroying the livelihoods of people in Goa, and putting their health in jeopardy.

 

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Access to Justice – ISDS style!

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

On 11th October, 2017, the Honourable High Court of Bombay at Goa quashed the notification shifting the jurisdiction for Goa of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the Bench in Delhi, thereby retaining the jurisdiction of the Western Zone Bench at Pune. This welcome decision for the citizens of Goa in the trajectory of asserting access to justice, could, however, be shortlived.

 

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Freedom of Speech and Expression: Caste, Creed, Cringe!

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

Recently, with the killing of Gauri Lankesh, the controversy over Sudirsukt and the death threats to writers such as Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, certain facets of freedom of speech have come under sharp scrutiny, making one question  who cringes about what speech and expression, what is the ambit of freedom of speech that we value, and who does so at what times.

 

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Water Water Everywhere, But…

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

There is one central lesson that can be gauged from the National Waterways Act 2016. It is that the people who have been traditionally using and sustaining the river waters and especially for their livelihoods, will have limited or no access to the rivers and maybe even the river banks.   The National Waterways Act, 2016, became law on 25th March, 2016, and came into force from 11th April, 2016. The inclusion of six riverine stretches of Goa in the Schedule to the National Waterways Act, 2016, is threatening the very existence of Goa, where livelihoods have revolved around the rivers and the coasts, even when population groups do not live in the immediate vicinity of these water bodies.

 

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Remembering Thälmann

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

Goa has lost a leading light in the death of Thälmann Pereira, advocate and trade unionist, and State Secretary of the Goa Unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Thälmann was born in 1962 into a communist household. His parents led the party in Goa and were intimately involved with it. This probably is why he was named after the founder of the Communist Party in Germany, Ernst Thälmann. Yet despite this proximate connection, he did not, unlike many Communist leaders, wear this legacy on his sleeve. So much so that even his wife, Rita Dey Pereira, said that she did not, during their courtship, have an idea of the amount of space the red (meaning Communist) flag occupied in his life. It began unfurling during the course of their married life, to use her own words.

 

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