Supreme Court Halts Bombay High Court’s Order on Goa’s Development Plans

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a stay on a Bombay High Court decision that had halted the operation of the December 2022 Outline Development Plans (ODPs) for several villages in Goa. This stay affects the villages of Calangute-Candolim, Arpora, Nagoa, and Parra.

The apex court’s vacation bench, composed of Justices Bela M. Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal, intervened following an appeal by the Town and Country Planning Department of Goa. The department contested the Bombay High Court’s Goa bench ruling, which had suspended the ODPs pending a final decision on a related public interest litigation (PIL).

The Supreme Court, in its deliberation, stated, “Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, the operation of the impugned order is stayed.” However, it emphasized that any constructions made during this period would be subject to the outcome of the ongoing PIL in the high court.

ODPs are strategic plans designed to guide the development of specific areas, involving local communities, landowners, and government agencies to ensure a consensual approach. The questioned ODPs, for the planning areas of Calangute-Candolim 2025 and Arpora-Nagoa-Parra 2030, had been temporarily set aside by the high court in May following its initial stay in February. This earlier stay was aimed at maintaining the guidelines of the Regional Plan-2021, preventing major constructions and modifications in the designated villages.

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The Bombay High Court had also noted the potential adverse impacts on the villagers from large-scale constructions and zone changes if the ODPs were allowed to proceed unchecked.

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