The Bill seeks to lend jurisdiction upon the Mamlatdar to decide cases under various sections of the Goa Daman and Diu Agricultural Tenancy Act, 1964 (Act 7 of 1964). It also seeks to empower the Collector and Administrative Tribunal to hear appeals and revisions arising from the decisions of the Mamlatdar’s Court
The Goa Agriculture Tenancy (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was unanimously passed in the state assembly, paving the way for transfer of tenancy cases back to mamlatdar from the Court of Civil Judge, Senior Division.
There was a hue and cry when the earlier BJP regime had passed the controversial bill three years ago. This was one provision in that bill which has now been reversed.
As per the new bill, the government has fixed a time limit for disposal of the application within a period of three years from the date of their receipt from the court of senior civil judge as the cases may be. “Around 3,396 cases will be transferred back to the mamlatdar once the Act is passed. We want to ensure that all cases are disposed of within three years,” said Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte.
A noisy scene was witnessed in the House as some members sought clarity over the appellate authority for tenancy cases, which the tenants have lost in Civil Court.
However, there was no amendment from the legislators to the Bill.
While replying to queries raised by members, Revenue Minister Khaunte said that the percentage of cases going against tenants in mamlatdar court was 21 per cent till 2014, and from 2014 to 2017, 23 percent cases went against the tenants in Civil Courts.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the government has accepted the demand of the people for transferring cases from Civil Court as there is ease of dealing the cases before mamlatdar court without advocate.
Leader of Opposition Chandrakant (Babu) Kavlekar said that earlier there were two options for the tenants to appeal against the order passed against them by the mamlatdar court, and it included the Collector and Administrative Tribunal, and added that now in the cases disposed by the Civil Court, the tenants have only one option for appealing the order that is District Court.
Interestingly, BJP legislator from Curchorem Nilesh Cabral seemed unconvinced on his government’s decision to reverse the legal process. He questioned “Will this benefit the tenant? I do not think so. We are losing sight that the bill is bringing back power of a quasi judicial authority. The tenant can be harassed by the landlord by dragging him through all three courts. The disposal rate of tenancy cases by district courts has been satisfactory. Around 1,013 cases have been disposed out of 3,000-odd cases. Why not give some time to the civil court?”
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the government has accepted the demand of the people for transferring cases from Civil Court as there is ease of dealing the cases before mamlatdar court without an advocate
The Bill gives powers to the mamlatdar for deciding on the matter under various sections of the Goa Daman and Diu Agricultural Tenancy Act, 1964 (Act 7 of 1694). Similarly, the Bill also bestows upon the Collector and the Administrative Tribunal the appellate/revisional power under the said Act.
The Bill has fixed the time limit of three years for disposal of the applications and / or proceedings under sections 7, 7A, I4, and I8 of the said Act, from the date of their filing or from the date of their receipt from the Court of Civil Judge Senior Division, as the case may be.
The Bill also empowers the government to constitute Agricultural Land Tribunal for such areas and also to frame rules for prescribing the manner for holding inquiry by the mamlatdar into the alleged contravention.
The bill states that from every order, including an order passed under Chapter II – A other than an interim order passed by the mamlatdar or the Tribunal under the Act, an appeal shall lie to the Collector and the orders of the Collector on such appeal shall be final, subject to revision, if any, by the Administrative Tribunal.
“Provided that where such order has been passed by the Court of Senior Civil Judge before the commencement of the Goa Agricultural Tenancy (Amendment) Act, 2017 an appeal shall lie to the District Court and the orders of the Court on such appeal shall be final. And, from every original order other than an interim order passed by the Collector an appeal shall lie to the Administrative Tribunal and the orders on such appeal shall be final” the Bill adds