Land laws of goa

Raunaq Rao – Legal Eagle

Land Laws of Goa

A look at the various group of legislation that govern the land in Goa

Whispering palms, beaches of gold, the laidback country of the susegados, of sorpotel, of fidalgos and of feni. Goa has been forever known for its hospitality and of course food to die for.
    Early 1970s and 80s saw a spate of American and Israeli tourists flocking in into Goa, and in no time the “make Love not War” culture caught our fancy. Away from the mundane hustle bustle of the Indian metros, just a short flight and you will find yourself at the doorstep of a tropical paradise, a throwback in time where relaxation is unavoidable and rejuvenation guaranteed. The craze for Goa reached to such a height that everyone wanted their own share of this paradise. This is where realty bites! Because if you want a piece of the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ then it surely comes with a price tag!
    Real estate market in Goa is one place where logic and proportionality is of relevance with how properties are priced. But then again Goa is one big deal real estate market that can surely give you a run for your money.
    However before you embark on this chore of yours, it is vital that you know the various laws that are peculiar to Goa, thanks to our colonial past. Needless to mention the various populist legislation that are a property purchaser’s potential nightmare!

    Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule on 19th December 1961, after a successful annexation per force by way of a military action titled ‘Operation Vijay’ by India. Soon thereafter the Parliament passed the Goa, Daman & Diu Administration Act, 1962 which took effect from 28.03.1962 that permitted the continuation of erstwhile Portuguese Laws. This arrangement was to continue until these laws were repealed, or suitably amended to avoid conflict with the Indian Laws, by the competent Legislature.
    The Codigo Civil, 1867 popularly known as the Portuguese Civil Code together with various Decrees and Diplomas are still in application till this date, the laws governing the institution of Communidades; regulations of Dessaiados; Decree dealing with Urban Leases; Regulations governing the affairs of the Devalayas or Private Hindu Temples and the Mazanias or the body of Mahajans of a particular Private Hindu Temple; Regulations governing the affairs of the Confrarias or the Treasury of Catholic Religious Associations; Regulations dealing with the Contribuição Predial or recording and payment of Land Tax as well as Laws governing the Servidões or Easements relating to properties, are some examples.
    The Goa Assembly also passed what is known as the Goa, Daman & Diu Administration of Evacuee Property Act, 1964. This piece of legislation was to extensively deal with the administration and management of properties belonging to estranged owners who moved out of Goa during the chaos and pandemonium that followed the military action.
    The pre-Liberation era for the backward and down-trodden classes was to an extent atrocious. There was no guarantee of pay, equality of treatment or guarantee of basic food, shelter and clothing. The institutions of Public Assistance had seen their share of the colonial bureaucracy. In wake of the given background several populist legislations were enacted directly dealing with the conferment of rights and their protection. These laws by themselves are self-sufficient codes. 
    First of the lot was the Goa, Daman & Diu Agricultural Tenancy Act, 1964. The subsequent ones were, the Goa, Daman & Diu Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1969; The Goa, Daman & Diu (Abolition of Proprietorship of Lands in Diu) Act, 1970; The Goa, Daman & Diu Protection of Rights of Tenants (Cashewnut and Arecanut Gardens) Act, 1971; The Goa, Daman & Diu (Protection from Eviction of Mundkars, Agricultural Labourers and Village Artisans) Act, 1971; and; The Goa, Daman & Diu Mundkars (Protection from Eviction) Act, 1976.
    These legislations were a clear expression of the populist sentiment expressed through their elected representatives. These laws though aimed at bringing about a change in the societal outlook, aggrieved the class of land owners. One sees that contemporarily such laws becoming embroiled into vote-bank politics. A prospective buyer needs to be achtung! about these laws.
    The legislature also enacted the Goa Daman Diu Land Revenue Code, 1968 and the Mamlatdar Court’s Act. While the former deals with land revenue and user based provisions of law, the latter deals with creation of a forum for the adjudication of disputes arising out of the various populist legislations mentioned earlier


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