15 Sep 2021  |   06:22am IST

Calangute sarpanch under High Court scanner

Calangute sarpanch under  High Court scanner

Team Herald 

PANJIM: The Bombay High Court at Goa has directed the Calangute sarpanch to file an affidavit on the number of complaints received by the Calangute Village Panchayat during his tenure about illegal constructions and action taken, if any. 

The affidavit should also indicate the timeline within which the action, if any, was taken, the court said.

The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) writ petition filed by one Alex J Fernandes regarding an illegal construction and the failure of the village panchayat to act on the complaints.

The Division Bench comprising Mahesh Sonak and M S Jawalkar observed that prima facie it is a case of remiss in the discharge of duties on the part of the sarpanch and the deputy sarpanch in not taking any action whatsoever against the constructions by Alex Elvis Fernandes and Lavita Fernandes at the breakneck speed in order to avoid any restraint orders from the court or statutory authorities. 

Arguing on behalf of the petitioner, Adv Rohit Bras de Sa said that the petitioner had complained that the illegal and unauthorised construction/villa was being put up without seeking permissions inter alia from the Calangute village panchayat and the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA). Before filing the petition, a complaint was made to the village panchayat on March 9, 2021 and there was no explanation as to why no cognisance was taken of this complaint and the powers under Section 64 of the Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 to stop such construction were exercised by the sarpanch. 

The court said that both the parties who built villas had not bothered to obtain permissions from any authorities. There was   neither any licence nor there was any occupancy certificate for its occupation and the construction had come up hardly a kilometre away from the panchayat office. The sarpanch cannot claim ignorance in the matter because on March 9, the petitioner had brought this prima facie illegal activities to his notice. 

The court said that the construction of this nature without any permissions whatsoever could be completed on account of inaction on the part of the village panchayat and its sarpanch. 

The matter has now been posted for further hearing today.