Kerala HC refuses to stay Lakshadweep regulations
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala High Court on Friday refused to stay the implementation of the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR) 2021and sought the response of the Centre and Lakshadweep administration in two weeks on a public interest litigation (PIL) against it.
The PIL, filed by Congress leader K P Noushad Ali, said the new draft regulation ensures sweeping, arbitrary and unchecked powers to the island administration and would destroy the unique culture and tradition of the island. The rules would also affect the possession and retention of property by the island residents, it added.
While the counsel for the petitioner insisted for an interim stay on regulations, a division bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and M R Anitha observed that it was a policy matter and let all persons involved share their views with the court.
The court also sent notices to the Union government and island administration and posted the hearing after two weeks.
Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel’s controversial reforms have attracted widespread resentment among the local populace with many believing the changes are aimed at “destroying the unique culture and tradition” of the islands. About a dozen MPs, including Mohammed Faizal, who represents the island, sent letters to the President seeking Patel’s immediate recall.
The Congress, CPI(M) and Muslim League joined hands to oppose the decisions, saying Patel was trying to “saffronise the island” where almost 95% population is Muslim.
Collector of the Union territory Askar Ali, however, defended the rules and alleged that people with vested interests were spreading misinformation over it to project the administration in poor light. He added that the administration was trying to develop the island as a major tour hub like Maldives and that local people were in favour of the effort.
Ali said Maldives and Lakshadweep have the same features and climate but the former was way ahead in tourism. Fresh initiatives would help open new avenues for the latter to ensure development and prosperity, he said.