C.A. No.-001866-001866 / 2020


  • Special Civil Suit No 64 of 1995 was filed by Shri Narayan V. Gaonkar, Shri Shivram V. Gaonkar, and Shri Rama S.F. Dessai in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior Division at Quepem.
  • The suit requested the survey authorities to delete the name of the Forest Department from the survey entry No. 11/1 of the village Sulcorna and declare the plaintiffs as the exclusive owners of the property.
  • The suit named the Secretary of the Forest Department, the Collector South Sub-Division, the Director of Survey & Settlement Officer, and the Chief Secretary of the Government of Goa as defendants.
  • Complaint filed by the plaintiff, Dispute Case No. 3 Sulcorna was registered but later withdrawn by the plaintiff, yet names were still added along with the Forest Department in the dispute case.
  • In the counter claim, the plaintiffs claimed exclusive possession of the property and that the Forest Department had been wrongly recorded as co-occupants.
  • A Mining Lease was granted for the property by the Government of Goa.
  • First Appeal No. 115 of 2001 was filed by the State of Goa challenging the judgment dismissing the Civil Suit No. 64 of 1995.
  • The Civil Judge held that the plaintiffs failed to prove ownership but upheld their possession.
  • The defendants claimed rightful possession of the property, stating it belonged to the Forest Department for many years.
  • Various legal applications and affidavits were filed by both parties during the course of the case.
  • The High Court dismissed the appeal of the appellants.
  • The trial court rejected the plaintiffs’ prayer for title.
  • The defendants-appellants counter claim of ownership was dismissed.
  • The Civil Judge held that the respondents were in possession.
  • The High Court affirmed the judgment of the Civil Judge.

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  • The defendants are claiming that the plaintiffs’ names have been wrongly recorded as co-occupants in the property surveyed under No.11/1 of Village Sulcorna.
  • The plaintiffs need to prove that they are the owners in possession of the suit property as described in paragraph 1 of the plaint.
  • The learned Civil Judge framed two issues relating to this matter.

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  • The appellant’s counsel argues that the trial court rejected the plaintiffs’ claim of ownership of Survey No.11/1.
  • As the plaintiffs did not file any appeal against this rejection, the finding that they are not the owners of Survey No.11/1 has become final.
  • Therefore, the plaintiffs cannot claim any right or title with regard to Survey No.11/1 according to the appellant.
  • Complaint filed by one of the plaintiffs was regarding adjoining land, not the suit land.
  • Grant of mining lease by the State does not affect the plaintiffs’ rights.
  • Additional affidavits show land survey recorded in the name of Forest Department only.
  • Complaint made to Mamlatdar about land recorded in Forest Department’s name.
  • Plaintiffs withdrew the complaint leading to their names being wrongly entered in Survey No.11/1.
  • Forest Department was in possession of Survey No. 11/1, not the plaintiffs.
  • State of Goa granted Mining Lease on Survey No. 11/1, proving State’s possession.
  • Refutation by defendant’s counsel regarding ancestors’ ownership of the suit property.
  • Withdrawal of complaint does not impact plaintiffs’ rights.
  • State’s right to grant lease even if the land is owned by a tenure holder.
  • Claim that land does not belong to the Forest Department but to the applicant.

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  • Additional evidence was presented by the State establishing that the land in question was designated as Forest Department property, contradicting the plaintiffs’ claim.
  • The Goa, Daman and Diu Land Revenue Code, 1968, was enacted to regulate land and land revenue in the region.
  • Section 14 of the Code required public notice for individuals with interest in the land to provide information within the specified period.
  • The Lease Deed conditions implied restrictions on entering reserved forests and utilizing timber without official consent.
  • The General Provisions emphasized maintaining the forest land status on leased land.
  • A decree from 1906 confirmed that mineral rights were vested solely in the State Government.
  • The judgement reiterated the State’s proprietorship over all minerals beneath the land.
  • The plaintiffs’ suit to remove the Forest Department’s name from the land entry was rejected, and the Forest Department’s ownership was upheld.
  • The State presented evidence indicating that the land in question was considered forest land, supported by historical decrees and regulations.
  • Rules and procedures for land disputes and correction of records were outlined, highlighting the due process followed in handling objections.
  • The withdrawal of the plaintiffs’ application and subsequent inclusion of their names in land records were deemed unlawful.
  • The court highlighted the necessity for abiding by legal procedures and appropriate documentation in land ownership disputes.
  • The right to mines, minerals, and mineral products vest in the Government unless otherwise provided by law or grant.
  • The Government has all necessary powers for the proper enjoyment of such rights.
  • Disputes regarding property or rights claimed by or against the Government shall be decided by the Collector or an authorized officer after due notice and inquiry.
  • Any person aggrieved by such decisions can contest them in a civil suit within one year, and the decision of the civil court is binding.
  • The matriz document claimed by the plaintiffs-respondents as the basis of rights is not the document of title.
  • The Bombay High Court in Fabrica da Igreja de N.s. de Milagres vs Union of India and others (1995) 1 Bom CR 588 stated that the matriz document is not the document of title.
  • The court emphasized in paragraph 14 that the matriz document is not the document of title.
  • The name of the Forest Department recorded in survey No.11, deletion of which has been refused, does not establish any claim for the plaintiffs-respondents
  • The name of the plaintiffs-respondents in the record does not establish their claim
  • The defendant has made a strong case for allowing the counter-claim
  • Additional evidence presented by the State supports the defendant’s counter-claim
  • The grant of Lease by the State is not disputed by the plaintiffs-respondents
  • The counter-claim of the defendant deserves to be allowed
  • The judgment of the lower courts is to be modified accordingly
  • The appeal of the appellant is allowed and the counter-claim filed by the defendants is allowed


  • Parties shall bear their own costs.
  • The name of plaintiffs-respondents be deleted from the occupant’s column in survey No.11/1 Sulcorna Village of Quepem Taluka, District Goa.

Case Title: STATE OF GOA Vs. NARAYAN V. GAONKAR . (2020 INSC 268)

Case Number: C.A. No.-001866-001866 / 2020

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