Bombay High Court in Goa Halts Construction of Road to ISKCON’s “Vedic Village”

Bombay High Court in Goa Halts Construction of Road to ISKCON's "Vedic Village"
Bombay High Court in Goa Halts Construction of Road to ISKCON's "Vedic Village"
Bombay High Court in Goa Halts Construction of Road to ISKCON's "Vedic Village"
Bombay High Court in Goa Halts Construction of Road to ISKCON's "Vedic Village"

Bombay High Court in Goa Halts Construction of Road to ISKCON’s “Vedic Village”

Bombay High Court in Goa Halts Construction of Road to ISKCON’s “Vedic Village”. Image/

The Bombay High Court in Goa has issued a stay order on the Goa government’s decision to construct a two-kilometer road leading to a property intended for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The property is meant to host a “vedic village” on a hill in south Goa. The court observed that providing such a benefit to a private entity may not align with constitutional principles.

Stay Order in Response to Public Petition

The decision to halt road construction comes in response to a petition filed by two residents, Deelip Babal Naik and Abhijit Prabhudesai, challenging the state’s plan to build the road at public expense. The court, comprising justices MS Sonak and Bharat Deshpande, issued the stay order as an interim measure until further hearings in January 2024.

Government’s Defense of the Decision

Goa’s advocate general, Devidas Pangam, defended the government’s action, arguing that ISKCON’s plans for a vedic village, temple, and cow shed constitute a “public purpose.” As such, the government believed there was no impediment to providing an approach road to ISKCON’s property.

Public Interest and Constitutional Principles

The high court emphasized that any government decision to award contracts, provide assistance, or grant other forms of largesse should be tested for validity based on reasonableness and public interest. The court stressed that government actions must not be arbitrary or capricious but must be rooted in principles that serve the public good. The bench further noted that public authorities are obligated to act reasonably, in good faith, and on lawful and relevant grounds of public interest.

Legal Implications

The court’s stay order reflects the broader principle that government entities must exercise their powers in a manner that aligns with constitutional principles and serves the public interest. It underscores the need for transparency and fairness in government decisions related to public resources and assistance.

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