Kerala HC declines to stay new draft regulation in Lakshadweep
The Kerala high court on Friday declined to stay the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation and sent notices to the Centre and the Union Territory administration in response to Congress leader KP Noushad Ali’s plea against the regulation, which has triggered protests.
Ali has pleaded the regulation will destroy the unique culture and tradition of the Arabian Sea archipelago. He has said it gives sweeping, arbitrary, and unchecked powers to Lakshadweep’s administration and will even affect possession and retention of property by islanders.
Ali’s lawyer sought an interim stay. But a division bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and M R Anitha observed this was a policy matter and all parties should get a chance to put forth their views before issuing the notices. The court, which has jurisdiction over Lakshadweep, posted the hearing in the matter after two weeks.
Lakshadweep has been in the eye of a political storm after the Union Territory’s new administrator, Praful Khoda Patel, issued a set of orders and brought in new rules and regulations. Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist have written to the President urging him to recall the administrator. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin have also backed the call.
Local residents have been protesting over new norms for the last three months. Critics see new regulations as a threat to the cultural identity of the people of Lakshadweep, where close to 95% population is Muslim and the ecology is sensitive.
Askar Ali, Lakshadweep’s collector, has defended new rules and said people with vested interests were spreading misinformation with ulterior motives.