High Court

Before the arrival of the Portuguese, Adilshah the Sultan of Bijapur who ruled Goa was the head of the Sultanate Judicial System. This had a Qazi at the top below which were Judicial Magistrates, such as Amirs and Vazirs who had powers within their territorial jurisdiction. Also there were some subordinate Judicial Officers. At first the Portuguese did not alter the Judicial system but gradually introduced their Judicial system. First somewhere in 1526, they codified the usages and customs of the Gaonkars and introduced a chapter. Then a Chief Judicial Authority known as Tanador-mor was appointed the Chief Captain and the Governor General of the Portuguese possessions in India were looking into only serious cases. Later on a Judicial Officer known as Ouvidor Geral or Auditor General was appointed and finally a High Court was created in 1544 which was designated as Tribunal de Relacao das Indias. This High Court had 3 sitting Judges and was headed by a Chancellor. The Portuguese Prime Minister Marques of Pombal reintroduced the office of the Auditor- General with all the powers of the High Court after he abolished the Tribunal de Relacao in 1774. However in 1776 it was re-established and a Chancellor with a Bench of 5 Judges was to preside over the Court.

Upto the time of Liberation this situation continued to be in force with some slight changes. After Liberation the Judicial Commissioner's Court substituted the Tribunal de Relacao de Goa which was abolished. This was a Court which under the Indian Judicial system had lesser powers than a High Court.

However due to the persistent demand for the extension of the jurisdiction of a High Court to the Union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu and in place of the existing Judicial Commissioner's Court the establishment of a permanent bench of that High Court, the jurisdiction of High Court of Judicature at Bombay was extended to the State of Goa and Union territories of Daman and Diu. Also the Judicial Commissioner's Court was abolished and on 30th October, 1982 a permanent bench of High Court of Judicature at Bombay is established at Panaji (Goa) as per the provisions of The High Court at Bombay (Extension of Jurisdiction to Goa, Daman and Diu ) Act, 1981.

The High Court of Bombay thus became the common High Court for the states of Maharashtra and Goa and the Union Territories after the Parliament conferred Statehood to Goa in 1987.

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