Kochi: The High Court on Thursday directed the Government pleader to give instructions to the Thiruvananthapuram District Collector not to take further steps to dispossess Kovalam Hotels Limited of Halcyon Castle until the writ petition against the take-over laws was disposed of.
Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair passed the order when the counsel for the hotel groups mentioned about the steps being taken on Thursday by the Revenue Divisional Officer and Tahsildar to take possession of the castle.
The Government pleader submitted that he had already given instructions to the District Collector in this regard.
The court also ordered that the key of the rooms already taken over by the authorities concerned be released to the petitioners.
The counsel also mentioned that the proceedings were initiated on Thursday when the pending writ petition was posted to Friday for hearing.
The writ petition was filed by Kovalam Hotels Limited's director Venu Krishnan and Hotel Leela Venture Limited which bought the hotel.
The petition challenged the Kovalam Palace (Takeover by Resumption) Act. According to them, the take-over of Halcyon Castle by the Government was illegal.
The palace was taken over on the ground that it was a heritage site.
The petitioners said that there was no provision in the law for taking over a heritage site.
In fact, the palace did not come under the heritage sites. The petitioner said that the State Legislature had no power to pass an Act to take over the building. The petitioners sought to restrain the Government from giving effect to the Act.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice V.K. Bali and Justice P.R. Raman granted the Government 10 days to comply with its earlier direction for evicting encroachers from the Government land at Ambayathodu in Kozhikode.
The land was taken over by the Government under the Land Ceiling Law. The court issued the direction when a contempt petition came up for hearing.
Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair admitted a writ petition seeking a declaration that the season ticket holders travelling between Kollam and Ernakulam were entitled to travel in train via Kottayam as well as Alappuzha.
The petition was filed by Alexander Panicker of Kollam. According to him, the Railways were not issuing season tickets between Ernakulam and Kollam via Alappuzha while it did issue tickets for travelling via Kottayam.