Tree felling case: Law Department’s opinion was not sought, says Rajeeve

The Law Department’s opinion was not sought when issuing the October 24, 2020, order pertaining to cutting of trees on assigned land, Minister for Industries and Law P. Rajeeve said on Thursday.

However, the department’s opinion had been taken for drafting the order cancelling the October 24, 2020, order issued by the Principal Secretary, Revenue, Mr. Rajeeve said in reply to questions on the tree-felling case in the Assembly.

The Law Department had further given its opinion that the March 11, 2020, circular issued by the Principal Secretary, Revenue, as well as the October 24 order does not stand legal scrutiny and that they should be cancelled, he said.

Mr. Rajeeve explained that the Law Department’s advice need not be sought when issuing a government order based on an Act. In this case also, it was not sought, which is not wrong.

“However, a vetting by the department is necessary if they are rules based on an Act,” he said. The department’s opinion was sought on the legal aspects of the GO cancelling the October 24 order, he said. The Law Department had recommended that suitable amendments may be made to the Land Assignment Rules, 1964.

The March 11, 2020, circular had been stayed by the High Court in an interim order, after which the order was issued in October last year. However, there was nothing “contradictory” in this, according to Mr. Rajeeve.

The arrests of the accused in the Muttil tree-felling case proved the LDF Government’s uncompromising stand against corruption, Mr. Rajeeve said.

Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition V. D. Satheesan demanded to know how Revenue Minister K. Rajan could defend the October 24 order in the Assembly when the Law Department had already advised that it and the March 11 circular did not stand legal scrutiny. Mr. Satheesan further alleged that the Revenue Department’s decision not to seek the Law Department’s opinion before issuing the order could have been deliberate.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 12:20:47 PM |

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