Sand-mining: court dismisses plea

Special Correspondent

Collectors have the power to confiscate the vehicle

Sets pre-condition for release of the vehicle

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea against Section 23 of the Kerala Protection of River Banks and Regulation of Removal of Sand Act, 2001.

As per Section 23 of the Act, District Collectors have been empowered to confiscate the vehicle used for transporting illegally mined river sand and punish the vehicle owner.

Justice V. Giri passed the order while disposing of a batch of writ petitions challenging the order confiscating vehicles.

The court, however, directed all Collectors to take certain safeguards while passing interim orders releasing the vehicles.

The court ordered that deposit of an amount could be ordered as pre-condition for the release of the vehicle.

A condition should be set that the vehicle should not be used for transporting of sand pending adjudication of the proceedings under the provisions of the Act and Rules.

The vehicle should not be used within the taluk or even the district concerned from where it was seized pending final adjudication of the case.

The court set aside the orders passed by District Collectors regarding the confiscation of the vehicle and directed them to reconsider the issue.

Stay granted

The Kerala High Court on Thursday stayed the Upa Lok Ayukta’s order recommending the government to take action against M.R. Ramachandran Nair, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kerala, in a case relating to irregularities in the selection of candidates to the post of Assistant Grade II in the university.

The Upa Lok Ayukta had recommended that the rank list and the appointments already made to the post be cancelled and legal action be initiated against the Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor and certain Syndicate members.

The Upa Lok Ayukta was of the opinion that the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro Vice-Chancellor had abused their official position.

The former Vice-Chancellor said that the Upa Lok Ayukta had passed the order on a complaint filed by S.S. Sujith who had not applied for the post.

Contempt case

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday directed V.K. Sadanandan and N.K. Sathi, owners of S.N. Tourist Home, Munnar, to appear in person before the Division Bench on November 26 in a contempt of court case.

The contempt petition was filed by the Devikulam tahsildar saying that despite an undertaking given by them that they would not put up construction within 50 metres from the river bank, they went ahead with the construction.

Their action amounted to contempt of court.

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