Constitution (Fifty-Sixth Amendment) Act 1987

Portuguese controlled large part of the Western Coast of India since the early 16th century. However, with time, continuous wars and the rise of English East India Company in the 18th century and later the establishment of Crown rule in 1858 over the majority of Indian subcontinent, the Portuguese were left only with Goa. Even when India gained independence from the colonial British rule in 1947, Goa continued to be under Portuguese control.

A movement started to free Goa from the Portuguese rule. The communist and socialist parties launched a satyagraha in 1955. The Portuguese open fired the satyagrahis. The question of Goa’s independence took an international turn when Portugal ignored the UN resolution of 1960 seeking reply to when will it grant independence to its colonies in Asia and Africa. After a long struggle of Indians and local Goans, the Portuguese surrendered and left Goa in 1961.

Once the Portuguese rule ended over Goa, it became a part of the Indian Union. Till 1987, Goa along with Daman and Diu was labelled as a Union Territory. In 1987, the Union Government proposed to declare the territories of the Goa District as a separate state and the territories of Daman & Diu as a new Union Territory. For this purpose as well as the reorganisation of the legislative body a bill was introduced in the Parliament on 6th May 1987 to make the change in the Constitution also.

The new state of Goa was originally intended to have forty members in its Legislative Assembly. But because the existing Assembly of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu had thirty elected members and three nominated members it was purported to make this Assembly excluding the two members who represented Daman and Diu, the provisional assembly till elections are held on the expiry of the five-year term of the present Assembly. Thus, the Legislative Assembly of Goa was provided to have not less than thirty members, according to the 56th Constitutional Amendment Bill of 1987.

This provision was inserted as Article 371-I in the Constitution. The Bill was passed becoming an Act on 23rd May 1987. The Act was enforced on 30th May, four days after being published in the Official Indian Gazette. In this way, the India got its 25th state.


Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth (Fifth Edition)

Indian Constitutional Law – M. P. Jain (Sixth Edition)

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