‘Special Status’ has been a promise made to Goa during its annexation by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. However, those promised remained mere promises with no concrete action from the Congress government on the issue.
In a written reply to a question raised by Goa Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik, the minister said that the demand for grant of special status to Goa “has not been found justifiable and hence not agreed to”.
According to Rijiju’s statement, chief minister Manohar Parrikar had in May 2013 apprised the Central government of the urgent need for granting special status to Goa, on the lines of the special status granted to the states of Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal under Article 371or any other provision of the Constitution of India, for regulating the ownership and transfer of land in order to conserve the limited resources available for development and to ensure that the state preserves its unique identity.
Terming the demand a contravention of the Indian Constitution, Rijiju countered, “Article 19 (1)(d) and 19(1)(e)of the Constitution of India protect the right of free movement throughout the territory of India and to reside and settle in any part of the country.”
He added that the Article does not affect the operation of any existing law and does not prevent the state from making any law imposing reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the sub clauses either in the interest of the general public or for the protection of interest of any scheduled tribe.
On the issue of protecting Goa’s land, the reply stated that as the subject figures at entry 18 in the List II?state list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution?”any enactment of law on this subject should, therefore, be made by the state legislature”. The demand for the proposed amendment would contravene Article 19(1)(d) and 19(1)(e) of the Constitution, the minister said.
The rejection comes as a huge blow to the state’s BJP-led government, which had, since Narendra Modi’s election as Prime Minister, seemed quite optimistic about Goa getting special status.
A week ago, Parrikar had told the legislative assembly that he had written to Modi requesting special status to Goa. Parrikar had said that since Parliament is in session, a delegation of Goan legislators should go to the Centre and discuss and evolve a solution to the special status issue after the session ended.