Goa house ‘regularisation’ Bill will be challenged in court: Cong

The Congress in Goa, on Tuesday upped its protest against the Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill 2021, a legislation which aims to regularise illegally constructed small dwellings, stating that the law, if enacted, would meet the same fate of similar legislations proposed by governments in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which are being heard by the Supreme Court.

The Congress has also announced a massive rally in Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s Assembly constituency of Sanquelim in protest against the law, which is currently awaiting the Governor’s consent.

“In December 2020, the Supreme Court issued notices to all states with regards to a specific challenge in the apex court against the regularisation of illegal constructions in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh (and Telangana).

“The SC had directed the petitioner to implead all states and issued notice to all states, which means Goa has already been issued notice in that regard,” former state Attorney General and Congress spokesperson Carlos Fereira told a press conference in Panaji.

Passed in the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the state Assembly amid an opposition walkout, the legislation which comes ahead of the state Assembly polls, promises to ‘legalise’ illegal constructions carried out by those who have lived in Goa for more than 30 years.

Fereira said that the government should scrap the Bill or face a legal challenge to it.

“At the moment the Bill is not yet assented to by the Governor. Until the Bill becomes a law, you cannot challenge it in court. Until then we will urge the government to scrap it or the Governor can at least send it back to the Assembly. If the government insists on going through with it, we will challenge it in Court,” Fereira said.

“The Bhumiputra Bill is a legislation which will hurt the very fundamentals of Goa and its residents at large. Those who have constructed houses illegally will be rewarded, while honest people in the state who have followed legal processes will be shunned,” he also said.

Fereira also said that according to the new Bill was a pre-poll ‘jumla’.

“This law is unheard of anywhere in the world. This is a jumla which is being done by the BJP government aimed at the 2022 elections,” he also said. Elections to the state Assembly are scheduled to be held in early 2022.

“There is a rule of law prevailing. This Bill is nothing but a systematic attempt to defeat rule of law. People should wake up and realise they are being fooled. This is fraud on the Constitution and the people,” Fereira also said.