04 Apr 2024  |   06:33am IST

HC comes down heavily on former director of DMA for transferring Mapusa Municipal shops in favour of occupants

Stays order issued by the then DMA Gurudas Pilarnekar; pending disposal of petition, the occupants will have to pay market rate of premises

Team Herald

PANJIM: Coming down heavily on the Director of Municipal Administration (DMA) for passing an order stating that all the premises should be transferred in favour of all the occupants of the Mapusa municipal shops, the Bombay High Court at Goa on Wednesday stayed the order and directed the PWD to fix the market rate for these shops.

While hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) writ petition filed Jawaharlal Shetye, the division bench comprising Justices Mahesh S Sonak and Valmiki SA Menezes stayed the operation of the order issued by the then DMA Gurudas Pilarnekar and pending the disposal of this petition the occupants will have to pay the market rate of the premises. 

The DMA in his 432 pages order further stated that the State government should complete the process of transferring municipal shops in the favour of occupants at the earliest. If they are occupying the shops then it should be transferred in their favour. 

However, one of the respondents offered to pay fair market rate. The matter has now been posted to April 22.  

The petitioner through his counsel Adv Rohit Bras De Sa had filed an accompanying PIL writ petition challenging the inaction on the part of the Mapusa Municipal Council in taking action against the illegal transfer of immovable properties owned by the Mapusa Municipal Council contrary to and in violation of the provisions of section 88 of the Goa Municipalities Act 1968 read with Goa municipality is (transfer of immovable property) rules 1970 thereby causing deliberate substantial loss of revenue to the Mapusa Municipal Council and wrongful gain to the councillors and the officers of the Mapusa Municipal Council who had profited from the legality.

The DMA by an order dated November 14, 2023 had disposed of several appeals filed by  shopowners who were members of the Mapusa Merchants Association. The petitioner stated that the DMA directed the municipal chief officer to take steps to transfer the said shops/stalls in the name of the occupants of the lessee in view of various sectors, circulars, notifications issued by the DMA. 

The DMA had stated that those persons occupying the said stalls/shops were not unauthorised persons and had not trespassed into the municipal premises and went further to direct the transfer of the shops in the name of such persons who were in occupation of the stalls for a considerable long time so as to mitigate the litigation. 

The petitioner states that under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the he has learnt that the Municipal Council does not have the addresses of lessee of shops and stalls and furthermore has learnt that number of the shops and stalls lease had expired and had not been renewed under the provisions of Section 88 (4) of the Goa Municipalities Act and that there was a statutory duty on the part of the Council that on the expiry of the said lease period it activates such person under the provisions of the Goa Public premises (eviction of unauthorised occupants) Act 1988.


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