A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the District Collectors of Wayanad, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, and Kollam to take possession of the surplus land offered to surrender to the government by Harrisons Malayalam Limited.
The Bench comprising Justice M. Sasidharan Nambiar and Justice P. Bhavadasan issued the directive when the petition filed by the State government seeking to declare that the large tracts of land held by Harrisons Malayalam Limited was liable to be forfeited under Kerala Escheat and Forfeiture Act and protect the same as government land came up for hearing. The court also directed the company to identify the excess land within seven days.
The court had earlier directed the company to surrender the excess land to avoid any other complications and any confusion. The court rejected the contention of the company that it did not know the identity of the land offered to be surrendered.
Though the company sought a directive to the District Collectors to identify and demarcate the land with the assistance of surveyors and officials of the company, the Bench observed that it did not find it necessary to identify and demarcate the excess land with the assistance of the surveyors at this stage. It was for the company to identify the surplus land, which the government could take possession of.
Counsel for the company also submitted that without notice, the officials were taking possession of more land than what it offered to surrender.