Formed across Goa thousands of years ago, Comunidades are developed on certain fundamental principles that define a way of living, wherein human beings co-exist in harmony with each other and with nature. The core philosophy of Comunidade living was largely left intact even when the Portuguese began to rule over Goa. Prior to the settlement of the Portuguese, land that belonged to the Comunidades and its inhabitants were known as Ganvkaris. The term ‘Ganvkari’ has its origins in Konkani, derived from the words ‘gaon’ (village) and ‘kari’ (associations). The Comunidade system is similar to a village commune; while it has absolute land ownership rights and functions independently as a self-governing establishment, it still has distinct characteristics with regard to its structure, functions, and ownership rights. 

The Comunidade land cannot be sold but can be handed over to an inheritor for use. Once the lineage ends, the land will be given back to the Comunidade, who will then allot it to another Ganvkari. Moreover, the Comunidade land can neither be sold nor given on lease. A judgement passed by the Supreme Court of India had stated that Comunidade land is ‘inalienable’, and that Comunidades have a constitution of their own, known as ‘Codigo de Comunidade’. They also have their own independent judiciary. There are 225 Comunidades spread across Goa, with Panjim as their administrative capital. Each Comunidade elects a president, an attorney, and a treasurer for a term of four years. The Governor appoints an administrator. The Comunidades are run by the committee elected during the Annual General Meeting.

%d bloggers like this: