Govts. asked to file affidavit

KOCHI Oct. 28. A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court today directed the Union and State Governments to file a counter-affidavit in response to a writ petition seeking a directive to the Governments to allot forest lands at Sabarimala and Pampa for providing basic amenities to Sabarimala pilgrims.

The directive was issued by the Bench comprising Justice S. Sankarasubban and Justice A.K. Basheer on a petition filed by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).

The petition sought a directive to the State Government to construct enough number of check-dams over the Pampa and Kakki and its tributaries so that sufficient quantity of water could be released during the festival season. The petition pointed out that the TDB had given numerous memoranda to the Union and State Governments seeking forest land at Pampa, Marakootom, Saramkuthy and on either side of the traditional pathway from Pampa to Sabarimala. However, no action had been taken by the respondents.

The TDB pointed out that the Government had earlier leased out 73 acres of forest land at Pampa and Sabarimala for developing the area. However, the Board could not utilise the land because no prior sanction had been obtained from the Central Government. The Board, therefore, sought a declaration that it was entitled to start development activities in the leased land without the prior sanction of the Centre.

Directive on admission

The Kerala High Court today directed the State Government and the Director, Medical Education to make correction in the prospectus for admission to the post-graduate dental courses regarding the reserved quota for medical college lecturers and doctors working in various Government hospitals if they felt that such correction was necessary.

Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair issued the directive on a writ petition filed by V. Mukundan, a doctor working in the Health Services, challenging the action of the Government in scrapping the provision for two years' experience for lecturers. He had highlighted the anomalies in the prospectus for admission for the year 2003.

Muthanga: notice issued

The Bench comprising Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice K.K. Dinesan issued notice to the State Government and CBI on a writ petition filed by Binoy Viswom, CPI MLA, seeking a CBI probe into allegations of atrocities committed against tribals by the police at Muthanga. The petition also sought a direction to the State Government to provide adequate compensation to the victims of the police action at Muthanga. He said that though the State Human Rights Commission had recommended a CBI probe into the incidents, including the police atrocities against the tribals, the Government had asked the CBI to probe into the death of a police constable only.

Order on film release

The Bench comprising Justice J. B. Koshy and Justice K. Thankappan today modified the interim order of the Ernakulam District Court restraining Messrs. Ravathy Kalamandir from releasing negatives and prints of new films, `Katha' and `Seethakalyanam'. The Bench said that the negatives of `Katha' could be released on depositing /paying Rs.10 lakhs to the distributor, Messrs. Shenoy Cinemax. As for the film, `Seethakalyanam', the Revathi Kalamandir, the producer would be free to move the arbitrator for releasing them on furnishing security.

The district court had issued the interim orders on a petition filed by the distributor, Shenoy Cinemax, Kochi. According to its petition, the producer had failed to pay back the losses suffered by it when the film, `Pilot', flopped at the box office.

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