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Kerala HC rejects petition against draft regulation of Lakshadweep Administration

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on June 17, 2021

(File photo) An aerial view of a coral spawning observed by WTI researcher in Lakshadweep   -  PTI

The regulation proposes to develop towns on inhabited islands

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition challenging the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 which proposes to develop towns on inhabited Lakshadweep islands.

The petition was filed by K P Noushad Ali, secretary of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee. According to him, the draft regulation grants the administrator the power to “declare any area to be a planning area” on the islands, for the purpose of development.

Also read: Administrator never tried to understand islanders’ culture: Lakshadweep MP

The petitioner contended that the draft bill gave sweeping powers to the administration and all its bodies to directly interfere with an islander’s right to possess and retain their property. The draft regulation was widely opposed as it vested that the Administrator with the powers to remove or usurp smallholdings of property owned by the islanders.

The petitioner also challenged the procedure to be followed for auctioning livestock on the islands and also the decision to discontinue the service of the temporary staff engaged by the administration in certain sectors.

Dismissing the petition, the Bench comprising Justice S.V. Bhatti and Justice Murali Purushothaman observed that examination of the legality of the draft regulation which was under the active consideration of the administration was completely premature. The draft stipulation could not be challenged through a Public Interest Litigation.

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The court also noted that it was well settled that championing the cause concerning service matters by way of a Public Interest Litigation was impermissible and also unavailable on the ground that the petitioner lacked the locus standi to question the legality of the decision.

Besides, the petitioner had not satisfied as to his standing vis-à-vis the affairs of Lakshadweep Island to entertain the Public Interest Litigation. “The petitioner in the name of Public Interest Litigation could not expand the consideration with inchoate knowledge about the inhabitants of the island,” the court added.

Published on June 17, 2021

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