Current Affairs

AAP meets Goa Law Minister to demand relief for Goan origins OCI from illegal ‘FEMA’ committee

Aam Adami Party (AAP) last week submitted a representation to the Law Minister Francis D’Souza to demand that the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) of Goan origin should not be harassed as they have the full right to property, including inherited property under the Law of the Land.

The party demanded immediate withdrawal of the ‘illegal administrative directions’ issued by the Law department in this regard.

AAP Goa General Secretary Pradeep Padgaonkar along with AAP volunteers met Law Minister Francis D’Souza and submitted the representation.

The party said government had constituted what was called a FEMA committee to consider cases of sale and purchase of immovable properties in the state to issue of NOC before the registration of the documents of transfer, under the pretext of bringing control on purchase of properties by foreigners.

“But it appears that the Government has roped in Overseas Citizens of India of Goan origin under the committee to exercise direct control over their property matters particularly those properties which are inherited by them being their own ancestral properties. They come to Goa on 15 days holidays just to complete the formalities, are made to visit Panaji from all corners of the state and finally no work is done,” it alleged.

“The FEMA Committee operating since August 2013, has no legal status under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and hence large number of Goan origin overseas Citizens of India are being unnecessarily burdened with the requirement of obtaining NOC from the committee that has rarely met and rendered defunct. Now the State Registrar and head of Notary services is himself playing the role of the Committee with files after files pending for months causing distress to unsuspecting OCI’s and is a window to pay speed money to get the work done which in the first instance is not a requirement at all under the FEMA which has set the procedure to deal with such cases,” it said.

The eight member FEMA committee had not met once in the last two years and now being practically defunct, the State Registrar was himself dealing with the applications, it said, adding it was interesting to note that the committee itself had observed in its last meeting held on August 29, 2016, that there were already set guidelines issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under FEMA Act as well as the Enforcement Directorate and had recommended that the Law department or State Registrar office should issue guidelines to the sub Registrars on handling such cases and had sought dissolution of the Committee.

AAP in its letter alleged that what was happening was a ‘fraud’ on the people of Goa as the State Registrar had no information on the number of cases it had received since 2013 and disposed off.

”Applications are kept pending on flimsy reasons such as issue of Sanads and people are asked to submit Birth and death certificates of the grand fathers or great grand fathers which is not in the scope of FEMA. The department does not have data on rejection of cases of Goan OCI’s. The department admittedly says that there are no timelines for disposal of cases. The prescribed application form is not available in the Taluka Offices,” the party said.

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com

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