An Independent High Court for Goa Yes, But…

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

Oftentimes after Statehood, the demand for an Independent High Court for Goa has been raised. While the demand is perfectly constitutional, the prerogative to grant it rests with the Parliament. Not every State in India has an independent High Court, and, in some cases, if the States are small, they share a common High Court.

 

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Law Commissions of India and Goa Law Commissions: Framing the Absences of Regional Difference with Special Reference to Goa

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Scholarly Articles

By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

This article examines how law reform processes in India have been unsuccessful in taking into account intersectionality, particularly in the context of Goa. It analyses how the existence of a Uniform Civil Code, a relic of the era of Portuguese colonialism, has been utilized by law reform processes to absolve themselves of responsibility for modernizing civil laws, particularly for women. The article breaks down the idea of an “Indian” identity, highlighting its failure to account for diversity in gender, caste, wealth and the unique challenges faced by a community that is at once isolated from India but also subsumed by this identity. Accounting for the failings of even institutional mechanisms such as the Law Commission of India to take cognizance of the needs of Goa and the lack of incentive for politicians to do so suo motu, this article calls for a relook at the identity through which laws are reviewed, as well as a more participative and inclusive look at the legislative changes required in Goa.

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Nuisance and Social Drinking

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

From 2016, the Government of Goa – starting from the term of former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar – has tried to tackle the menace of drunken tourists by legislating a ban on drinking in all public spaces which are notified as “No Alcohol Consumption Zones”. Of course the law has been implemented neither in letter nor spirit. About a month ago, it was reported that the Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar planned to introduce another law that would impose even more stringent fines than before, and also amend the Garbage Management Act to tackle the joint problem of drunken nuisance and littering.

 

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They Call it Function Creep!

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

Among the many concerns that are being discussed in the Aadhaar cases before the Supreme Court is the whole question of ‘Function Creep’. The expression Function Creep is used when a technology or system is being used beyond the purpose for which it was originally intended, especially when this leads to potential invasion of privacy. This expression is now being used by Aadhaar critics to indicate how the compulsory Aadhaar card began as a way to check the siphoning of welfare monies to ghost beneficiaries, but is now becoming a basis for denial of hospital admission and a potential tool for prosecution, or, rather, persecution. One wonders whether it is a function that ended up creeping or was already meant to creep in the first place.

 

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#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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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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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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“Public Purpose” and Aggressive Land Acquisition Laws

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

The 2017 Monsoon session of the Goa Legislative Assembly ended about a month ago. In what could be construed as a remarkable show of governmental efficiency, six bills were passed and one referred back to the select committee for further deliberations and clarifications. Of these bills, The Goa Compensation to the Project Affected Persons and Vesting of Land in the Government Bill, 2017 and The Goa Requisition and Acquisition of Property Bill, 2017 have come under the scanner of activists due to the consequences such laws might have on the ownership of property, and especially of  marginalized communities. It is believed that a combination of these two laws would allow the government unfettered power in acquiring land from the people of Goa, to be disposed of as the government deems fit. In many ways, activists argue, such laws would secure the rights of investors over and above those of the common people of Goa. Goa is no stranger to such laws with the Investment Promotion Act, 2014 being at the centre of the Tiracol controversy.

 

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