Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Supreme Court orders Goa govt to halt fresh construction at Cidade.

Even while the state assembly in Goa was busy passing the bill  to regularise the ordinance aimed at saving a portion of  Cidade de Goa’s construction, the Supreme Court in an order yesterday, ruled that until it issues further orders, the structure should not be regularised nor should any fresh construction be permitted in hotel Cidade de Goa.

While slamming the Digambar Kamat government in Goa, for trying to nullify its judgement through the promulgation of an ordinance, with the motive of saving a portion of the Cidade de Goa from being demolished, the three judge bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal, G S  Singhvi and H L Dattu made its displeasure clear over the ordinance which negated the judgement of the apex court.

In an interim direction, the supreme court said until further orders, the construction should not be regularised. The order therefore means a fresh demolition threat now hangs over the controversy ridden portion of the hotel.

It may be recalled that the court had found enough reason to direct the demolition of the controversial portion of the Cidade de Goa and in January this year in response to a petition filed by the Goa foundation, had directed the demolition of the said portion within 3 months. However around a month after the judgement, the Goa government moved in swiftly to issue an ordinance to protect the hotel owner from the loss.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising appearing for the Goa foundation scathingly criticised the government of Goa for "throwing all norms to the wind in order to protect an offending building even at the cost of a judgement from the Supreme Court."

Social activists in Goa have been creating a mass awareness about the lack of morality on the part of the government in issuing the ordinance despite the direction of the apex court and have branded the move as unconstitutional

Legal experts have opined that this latest direction of the Supreme court could imply that the government would have to now petition the apex court if it desired to regularise the illegal construction. 

This therefore raises the question whether this whole episode would bring the state legislature and the apex court face to face in a battle of supremacy.

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