Property, Standing, Forests, Land Use, Inspections, Permits, Contract, Civil, Evidence, Licences
The judgement arose from an appeal filed by the hotel against the order of the Bombay high court in April 25, 2000, which had ordered the demolition of extended portion of the Cidade de Goa hotel building. Minguel Martins had approached the high court in 1991 seeking the opening of traditional access to the beach and had sought demolition of constructions made in violation of norms by the hotel. The appellant Fomento, argued that even though access to the beach may have been available before acquisition of the land, and that the people may have been using it to go to the beach, the right was terminated as soon as possession of the land was taken by the government. State government counsel also adopted the same argument. However, the court observed, “We are quite surprised with the stance adopted by the state Government”. The state government had acquired the land in 1983. After the government had taken possession of the acquired land, Fomento entered into an agreement. Both, the appellants and state functionaries, knew that there existed public access to the beach through survey no 803 (new no 246/2), that members of public were using the same since time immemorial and that it was necessary to protect that right". The importance of the public trust doctrine was recognized by this Court and the same was applied for protecting natural resources which have been treated as public properties and are held by the government as trustee of the people. While dismissing the appeal, the Court directed the company to demolish the extended portion of the hotel building within three months and report the matter to the development authority. The development authority is required to submit the compliance report to the Goa bench of the Bombay high court. The SC also observed that the authority should take action should the company fail to demolish the portion. The court also directed that the access, shown in plan attached to writ petition, be kept open without obstructions of any kind for those approaching the beach from Machado’s Cove. The court also observed that if, while the case was in court, Fomento had erected “any obstruction” or “construction to block or hinder access to the beach”, then it would have to be removed within a month from the order being passed. Meanwhile, another appeal filed by Goa Foundation and some others seeking the setting aside of the high court order of April 25, 2000 was dismissed by the SC. The high court had rejected the Goa Foundation’s prayer seeking public access through survey no. 787 (new no 246/1) to Vainguinim beach and car parking in another area and demolition of a construction made in an open area.