The Supreme Court today stayed an order of the Bombay High Court which had suspended the operation of the December 2022 Outline Development Plans (ODPs) for Calangute-Candolim, Arpora, Nagoa and Parra villages in Goa.

"The high court can't run the administration," a vacation bench of Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal observed while hearing a plea filed by the Town and Country Planning Department of Goa and others.

The department moved the apex court challenging an order of the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court which had said that pending the final disposal of a plea before it, the operation of the December 2022 ODPs shall remain stayed and no permissions, clearances or change of zones shall be granted on the basis of the plans.

While agreeing to hear the plea, the Apex court said, "Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, the operation of the impugned order is stayed".

"However, it is clarified that any construction made shall be subject to the outcome of the PIL… pending before the high court," the bench said and posted the matter for hearing in the third week of July.

ODPs constitute a form of local structure planning undertaken to provide guidance and flexibility for the future development of a particular area. ODPs are prepared with the involvement of the local community, landowners, and relevant government agencies for a consensual approach to the development of an area.

The high court had on May 2 passed an order on an application filed in a plea which has challenged the December 2022 ODPs for Calangute-Candolim Planning Area 2025 and Arpora-Nagoa-Parra Planning Area-2030.

It noted that in February this year, the high court had stayed the December 2022 circular by which the ODPs were sought to be applied to Calangute-Candolim and Arpora-Nagoa-Parra villages.

"As a result of this interim relief, the construction and development activities in these five villages had to be governed by Regional Plan-2021 (RPG-2021)," it had said.

The high court had noted that to nullify the effect of its February 14 interim order, the Goa Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Ordinance, 2024 was promulgated on February 29 in order to apply the December 2022 ODPs once again to these five villages.

"If interim relief is declined and large-scale constructions, development, conversions, and zone changes are allowed, the same is bound to adversely affect the villagers of five Calangute-Candolim and Arpora-Nagoa-Parra coastal villages," it had observed.

"For all the above reasons, we direct pending hearing and final disposal of the petition, operation of December ODPs shall remain stayed," it had said.

The high court had said if any permissions were already granted or deemed to be granted under the Ordinance, the authorities will ensure that no construction or development activities proceed based on such clearances.

With PTI Inputs