HC dismisses PIL challenging Lakshadweep draft rules

An aeriel view of an island in Lakshadweep.  

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 the 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.

Petitioner’s contention

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 property. The draft regulation was widely opposed as it vested the Administrator with powers to remove or usurp smallholdings of property owned by islanders.

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

‘Not through a PIL’

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 (PIL).

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

Besides, the petitioner had not convinced the court about his standing vis-à-vis the affairs of Lakshadweep to entertain the PIL. The petitioner, in the name of the PIL, could not expand the consideration with inchoate knowledge about the inhabitants of the island, the court added.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 10:45:40 PM |

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