November 29, 2021

SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

Controversies related to the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021

Share This :
, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs
, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs
Image source – https://bit.ly/3aGmsc7

This article is written by Surbhi Jindal, from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat, Haryana. Through this article, she attempts to highlight the controversies related to the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021. 

Table of Contents

On July 29, 2021, the Government of Goa introduced a Bill named the ‘Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021‘ in the Goa Legislative Assembly. The Bill was passed on July 30, 2021. The Bill’s main objective was to provide a proper mechanism for granting ownership rights to the people of self-occupied dwelling units. 

The passage of the Bill sparked a lot of controversies that startled around the Bill. The opposition, the tribes, and even a few members of the Government started raising questions on the Bill and termed it an insult to Goa’s original inhabitants. After these controversies arose, the Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant, said that the Bill would be reintroduced in the next assembly session. 

Hence, to understand the matter in detail, it becomes essential to understand the nature of the Bill and the revolving controversies around it. What is the opinion of various commentators, and what the Government’s stance is? Through this article, we shall ascertain the critical features of the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021, in detail. Furthermore, we shall look at the contentions raised by the people around this Bill and how the Government responded to it. This article will cover all the details that you need to know about the Bill exhaustively. 

The Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021, was introduced by the Smt. Jennifer Monserrate, Minister for Revenue for the State of Goa. According to the Bill, the main objective is to provide ownership rights to the people of self-occupied small housing units to live a life of dignity and self-respect. 

The key features of the Bill have been summarised as follows: 

  • The Act will be known as the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Act , 2021, and it shall apply to the whole State of Goa. 
  • ‘Bhumiputra’ will be the person who has resided for at least 30 years in the State of Goa before April 1, 2019. 
  • ‘Bhumiputra Adhikarini’ will be the committee constituted under Section 3 of the Act. The Government may notify the constitution of the Committee in the official Gazette. The Committee will comprise of the following to perform the functions assigned under the Act:
  • Deputy Collector as its Chairperson
  • An official from the Town and Country Planning Department
  • An official from the Forest department 
  • An official from the Environment Department 
  • Mamlatdar of respective taluka  
  • After the Bhumiputra Adhikarini has passed an order to declare the person as the dwelling unit owner, the person has to pay the amount of the dwelling unit that is equivalent to the market value of the land to the Government. But if the land is not of the Government, then the amount shall be returned to the owner of such land.   
  • A person can apply for the ownership rights and the prescribed documents to Bhumiputra Adhikarini within six months of the passing of this Act. The dwelling unit on which the person is claiming ownership rights should be constructed before April 1, 2019, and the area must not be more than 250 sq. m. 
  • A Bhumiputra Adhikarini should invite the objections on receiving the application within 30 days by way of public notice. 
  • An aggrieved party can file an appeal to the decision of Bhumiputra Adhikarini in the Administrative Tribunal within 30 days of the judgment being passed. The order passed by the Administrative Tribunal shall be final and binding. No other Court has the power to decide or entertain the jurisdiction over matters decided by the Bhumiputra Adhikarini or the Administrative Tribunal under this Act.  
, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

The first significant controversy on the Bill was including the term ‘Bhumiputra’ in the Bill. The opposition parties, including Congress, Goa forward party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, and the Aam Aadmi Party, have asserted that the term Bhumiputra is an insult to the original inhabitants who had lived in Goa for generations.

The BJP ST morcha handed a Memorandum to the Government stating that the term had hurt the communities’ sentiments and feelings, especially the tribal community. If this Bill had been brought in force without proper rectification, then it could have disastrous effects.

The Memorandum also stated that the three tribal communities, Kunbi, Velip, and Gauda, identify themselves as the original and foremost inhabitants of the land. They identify themselves as the sons of the soil. The literal meaning of the term ‘Bhumiputra’ is the sons of the soil. Hence, the term in the Bill is contentious. 

The opposition parties have criticized the Government, saying that the Bill aimed at appeasing the migrant vote bank. The other contention raised by the opposition is that the Bill was passed in haste in the assembly on July 30, 2021. The Bill was passed on the last day of the session by a voice vote in the 40-member house. Also, a proper procedure has not been followed for passing the Bill. 

No suggestions have been invited from the public, and there has been no debate on the Bill in the assembly. A few opposition parties have also termed it as a ‘Bill for mockery of Goans’. The Congress party demanded that the Bill be immediately withdrawn and may be reintroduced in the assembly. Furthermore, it said that the Government of Goa should restore the faith and confidence of the Goans. 

Former Advocate General Carlos Alvares Ferreira said that the Bill was defeating the doctrine of the rule of law which is an essential element of the law. Ferreira also stated that the Bill was an attempt to assault every honest citizen of Goa. It was an attempt on the part of the Government to fool the innocent citizens letting them remain in false hopes of receiving money. He further termed the Bill as a ‘total mockery of the law’. 

Former Election Commissioner Prabhakar Timble termed it as the ‘smart politics manufacturing bad laws.’ On the other hand, former MLA and veteran legal practitioner Uday Bhembre said that the laws made without elaborate discussion are inherently dangerous. If such laws are enacted, then it harms the interests of the people of the State and turns the State into a lawless state. 

The Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant, on introducing his objective of bringing up such Bill said that, 

“In the last so many years there have been cases of homes built by a person or his parents but the land is not in his name. There is always a sword dangling over their head that someone will file a case against them (over ownership). The land is of different kinds like ancestral property, communidade property, and panchayat land. Everyone had wished for the house that they lived in, their generations lived in, to be theirs.” 

On seeing the angered tribal population, he had assured that the word ‘Bhumiputra’ would be replaced by the term ‘Bhumi’ in the Bill. Now, the Bill will be known as ‘the Goa Bhumi Adhikarani Bill, 2021’. The Bill will be reintroduced in the next season of the Legislative Assembly. Suggestions were also invited from the public from August 4 onwards on the Bill. He asserted that valid suggestions by the public would be taken into consideration while introducing the Bill in the next assembly session. 

The Hon’ble Chief Minister has said that the Bill was brought for the benefit of Goans. It was drafted after careful considerations, and its primary purpose was to benefit the Goans whose houses were facing the threat of demolition. 

He asked, “There are many who are saying that this Bill has been brought for the benefit of migrants (who may be staying in illegal slums). I wish to ask them, ‘when did these migrants come? When did they build their houses? When did they encroach upon government land and common land? And if they are squatting on government land have they paid for it? Or have those lands been allowed to be taken over for free?”  

Furthermore, some people even support the bringing of this legislation. Former Chairperson of State law Commission and former BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar has termed the Bill as significant land reform. The Bill, if enacted, will provide the ownership rights to the number of Goans. In his words, “In the absence of ownership records, they could neither repair their homes nor avail any of the welfare schemes of the Government. Amendments may be brought to the legislation as needed over time, but the very fact that the Bill came into existence on the 60th year of Goa’s liberation underscores its significance.” 

While a comment by retired bureaucrat and legal commentator N D Agrawal highlights two very critical points. First, that no bill will be passed without proper scrutiny by the various ministries, and the second that our system is so slow that the present Bill will take time to come into force. 

Since the Bill pertains to land-related matters, the various ministries will adequately examine the legislation. The Bill needs the permission of the President, which is not an easy task. Supporting this statement, he highlighted the example of the Goa Requisition and Acquisition of Property Bill that the Goa Legislative Assembly passed in 2017. The Bill was introduced for the requisition and speedy acquisition of the property for specific purposes, and it still awaits the permission of the President to come into force. 

Updating on the status of suggestions on the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021, the Chief Minister of Goa on September 10, 2021, has said that the Government has received around 150 suggestions on the Bill. He said that the Government would take account of all the suggestions from the people, hold deliberations, and then take a decision accordingly.

It should be noted that the Government of Goa is ready to amend its mistakes. According to the statement made by the Chief Minister of Goa, it certainly looks like that the Bill was brought with a bona fide intention. It was introduced with the sole purpose of benefiting the people of Goa.

But it also cannot be ignored that the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021, had certain loopholes in it. The Government of Goa shouldn’t have passed the Bill hastily in the assembly. It should have invited suggestions from the public and conducted a proper debate on the Bill. Also, the inclusion of terms like ‘Bhumiputra’ should be taken into consideration beforehand and used diligently. 

The mistakes committed by the Government of Goa could have been avoided if it hadn’t been so hasty in its work. As the Chief Minister said that the Bill had been prepared diligently, if it could have been more diligent following the procedure, it would not have to face such criticism. Also, the Government should keep in mind that they should follow a proper procedure to pass the Bill this time so that the opposition doesn’t see any loophole to satisfy their political agenda.  

Nevertheless, the Government has said that the Bill will be reintroduced in the next assembly session. We can hope that the Government incorporates all the valid and reasonable suggestions by the public in the Bill. 


LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:

https://t.me/joinchat/J_0YrBa4IBSHdpuTfQO_sA

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content.


, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

Share This :