Court rejects plea against extension to shack policy



The Bombay High Court at Goa has rejected a petition challenging the one year extension granted to the Goa beach shack policy, by the tourism department citing the limited scope for judicial review in matters of government policy. 

The petitioner -- one Ruth Maria Silveira, had approached the Bombay High Court at Goa alleging that the extension will deny those who didn’t succeed at the ballot held three years ago from seeking an allotment for yet another year. 

“She was not allotted a shack but was aspiring for an allotment after the expiry of seasons between 2019-2022. The petitioner is now aggrieved because this one year's extension will deprive the petitioner from seeking an allotment of a shack at the earliest,” the petitioner pleaded before the High Court. 

“The decision to extend the policy and consequently the shack allotment term from three years to four years is a policy decision of the State Government. The scope of judicial review of such decisions is quite limited,” the High Court bench of Justices M S Sonak and Bharat Deshpande observed. 

Additional Government Advocate submits that the Shack Owners Welfare Society had applied for extension of two years based on the premise that the shack allottees could not carry out proper business during the Covid pandemic years. He submits that the State, after considering the various pros and cons, decided to extend the policy and consequently allotment period by only one year. 

“The increase in shack allotment fees is only 10% and such increase is consistent with the increase patterns for the previous years. This is a policy decision of the State Government involving no arbitrariness,” the government advocate told the High Court. 

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