LAKSHADWEEP AND ITS DRAFT LEGISLATION

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Lakshadweep is a group of 36 Islands which was full of exotic and sun kissed beaches and the lush green landscape. The meaning of the word “Lakshadweep” means a hundred thousand Islands.1 Its smallest union territory and also so with a land area of 32 square km2. Its ok you need district union territory with 12 atolls, 3 reefs, five submerged banks and 10 inhabited Islands. The capital is Kavaratti and it’s the principal town of the UT. The islands are 220 to 440 km away from the coastal city of Kochi.3 The natural landscapes, abundance of flora and fauna, Sandy beaches, and the absence of rushed lifestyle enhance the mystic of Lakshadweep.

The islands were connected by regular flights from Kochi. Agatti to Kavaratti throughout the year helicopter transfer is available. there is a tropical climate and it has an average temperature of 27 degree Celsius to 32 degree Celsius. 4 April and May at the hottest months with 32 degree Celsius. The climate is very pleasant humid and ,warm the climate is equitable at the time of monsoon, ship based tourism is closed. October to March is the ideal time to be on the Islands. From June to October Southwest monsoon is active with the average rainfall of 10 to 40 mm. Annual rainfall decreases from South to North and the relative humidity is 70 to 75 percentage. Winds are light from October to March. Old so 80 to 90 days of a year are rainy.

1) Meaning of Lakshadweep is 100 thousand Islands.

2) Land area of 32 square km.

3)220 to 440 km away from coastal city of Kochi.

4) Average temperature 27 degree Celsius to 32 degree Celsius.

The administrator of Lakshadweep introduced and short comments on the set of draught regulations which was heavily criticized. Locals have been protesting against this regulation, somewhere detained but released because of High court order. Tickle the geographical and cultural linkage to Kerala has also led the Kerala legislative assembly to pass anonymous resolution to call the administrator and to withdraw the regulation on Monday. This introduced by the chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan where are also backed why opposition leader VD Satheesan.

The proposed regulations, which is already in force in some state, need to be scrutinized with their legal history to comprehend the detrimental impact on Lakshadweep. One of these regulation, the Lakshadweep prevention of anti social activities regulation which was popularly known as Goonda act. It provides a range of sweeping powers for the administrator to detent a person for upto a year with a view to prevent him from acting any manna free judicial to the maintenance of public order. According to section 6 of the regulation, such a detention order will not deemed invalid even if one or some grounds are vague, non existent, non relevant, non connected or not approximately connected with such a person or invalid for any other reason whatsoever. The administrator can empower any police officer to enter and search any dwelling house, vehicles, vessel or animal and sees anything that they can have a reason to believe has been, is being or is about to be used for certain illegal activity. It’s not the first time this act has come under the fire.

During the discussions and propositions of amendments to the fundamental rights chapter in the constituent assembly, Kazi Syed Karimuddin raised pertinent questions about search and seizure powers of certain acts and proposed an amendment that article 13 are inalienable which should not be limited by” vagaries of the legislature”.

Suppose, in a state there is a political party where uh hostile to the central government and frame loss to great detriment of political minority or religious minorities. The people have suffered a lot and there would be untold mysteries. Particularly the word subject to operation of existing laws is very unjust. What about the situation today in India? Practically there is a stage of siege. There are Goonda public safety act, etc…in all provinces there is neither appeal nor any warrant is necessary for arrest and searches can be made without justification. From the entity of his speech, it’s evident that he recognized act like Goonda public safety act prayer colonial appendage and can potentially be used for suppressing minorities in the future. When he proposed amendment was put to vote, the house broke into ruckus. It was put to vote twice, and after objections shelved to a later date. When the time come, it was rejected by the house without a debate.

However, it’s important to note that Lakshadweep will not be the first territory or State to have Goonda act. West Bengal had earliest of the Goonda act in 1923 5Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat also have variation of the act.6 Some of the act have been and are currently being challenged to their constitutionality. The Kerala Anti social activities act it is presently down as unconstitutional in the state of Madhya Pradesh versus Baldeo Prasad s being violative of article 19 ( 1) (d) and (e) 7but it was largely because the act failed to define who a Goonda is. Under section 6 of the Lakshadweep Goonda regulation 8postulate that even if the grounds maybe vague or not relevant to the detention order is valid. The section 18 9gives the administrator and its forces sweeping search and seizure powers. According to the regulation.

5) Goonda act 1923.

6)  Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have variation of act.

7) The state of Madhya Pradesh versus Baldeo Prasad violates article 19 (1) (d) and (e).

8) Section 6 of Lakshadweep Goonda regulation.

9) Power of section 18.

Goonda maybe a bootlegger, dangerous person, drug offender, lending offender, cruel person, immoral traffic offender, sexual offender, or depredator of environment. The question remains, do these definitions, search and seizure powers are particulars pass the test of constitutionality or are they incurably vague, arbitrary, anthers and constitutional?

Another of these regulations one which prohibits cow slaughter. It has been a contentious legal issue longer than the constitution ever existed. This expression Li disputable for Lakshadweep for it has a population of over  90  %  Muslim  and  95  percentage  members  scheduled  tribes.  Administrator of Lakshadweep Praful Khoda Patel, what’s the first known IAS to be given the post who has also entirely ignored the cultural bond of the people of Lakshadweep with Kerala.11 He changed freight traffic routes two islands from Beypore in Kerala to Mangalore in Karnataka. Majority of population of Lakshadweep speaks Malayalam and the islanders are ethnically and culturally close to Malayali people. Beef, does is an important part of their diet. The debate around the beef ban has been convoluted as even though the act and substantive directive principle itself claims have an economic basis. It reeks the religious motives. Rarely hidden in the world that the majority supported authorities/government imposes its on food choices and was commonly regarded as conservative nation even the Muslim majority UAE has not banned pork. In India it had a much checkered history and more recently, lynching in the name of cow slaughter. Lakshadweep was far from the mainland spectacle but the recent draught regulation threaten to make a part and an example of what happens to Muslim majority territories and the interest of people under Bhartiya Janata party’s rule.

10) Population of Lakshadweep-90 % Muslim and 95 percentage scheduled tribe.

11) Praful Khoda Patel the first non IAS to be in the post who has entirely ignored the cultural bond of the people of Lakshadweep with Kerala.

The Lakshadweep animals prevention regulation prohibit the slaughter of any animal without a certificate, bans cow slaughter, and sale or purchase of beef. The article 48 of the constitution, directive principle of State policy does provide for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and other milch and draught cattle, the constitutional assembly amendment that proposed it substantiated with the economic argument of useful cattle and not a religious right.12 At present about 24 states and union territories have some form of anti cow slaughter laws. One of the earliest challenge 2nd cross slaughter law in India, Mohd.Hanif Qureshi v. State of Bihar,13 the petitioners pleaded for their right to trade and asserted themselves as belonging to the Quraishi community and they are generally increased in butcher’s trade. The court ruled that a complete ban would be impossible in the nation’s economic interest but allowed a partial ban on cow slaughter. Rohit de in his A peoples constitution points out that Hanif Qureshi is frequently cited with reference to freedom of religion which effaces the cast and professional identity of butchers to choose to contest the attack on their livelihood. Similarly de notes that court had recognized that beef was a common part of the diet of poor Muslims, Christians, scheduled tribes and scheduled caste.

The states under entry number 15 of article 246 are empowered to make laws on preservation, protection and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases14. Veterinary training and practice. The rational would indicate that States independently assess the needs of thereon people and accordingly enact anti cow slaughter laws. But the Lakshadweep is not a state and as a union territory the president may make regulation for the peace progress and good government of the

12) Importance of article 48 of constitution.

13) Mohd. Hanif Qureshi vs state of Bihar.

14) Entry number 15 of article 246 empowers laws on preservation protection and improvement of stock and prevention of animal diseases.

union territory. But it remains unclear how banning cow slaughter benefits the islanders that a majority of them belong to scheduled Tribes and Muslim community. The slow is clearly divorced from public benefit Lakshadweep indigenous population has no use for economically or culturally. The Lakshadweep development authority act, this proposed regulations upon implementation allow the government to evict.

It provide the formation of a planning and development authority which would further formulate a development plan. If a property is not deemed fit for the final scheme and the owner still continues to occupy it section 72 of the act provides for the procedure for eviction. 15 Any person continuing to copy any land which he is not entitled to occupy under the final scheme in accordance with the prescribed procedure be summarily evicted by the planning and government authority or any of its offices authorized in that behalf of that authority. Any coast which regard alterations to the property which be borne by the owner. Right to property May only be taken away in accordance with the authorities of law but must it be arbitrary a law?

According to section 119 of the act any person who obstruct the said development will be punished with fine which may extend to 10000 rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 the sweeping powers of association and alteration of properties along with a possibility of a penal action upon non compliance reeks of arbitrariness.16 The population density in archipelago is high, properties of squares and there is a little hope for rehabilitation. The regulations strikes at article 21 rights 17 . As it falls the fundamental rights is

15) Section 72 provide procedure for eviction.

16) Section 119 of the act.

17) Regulations strikes at article 21 rights.

manifestly and wholly arbitrary and unreasonable so it is also violative of article 14.18

The administrator of Lakshadweep has also proposed a draught Panchayat regulation 202119 with it to child norm for the aspirants in Panchayat election even when exports claimed the FTR within ideal limits and the proposed no might have an adverse impact on sex ratio.

The opposition against the draft regulation proposed by the administrator of Lakshadweep is not surprising. In recent hearing at the Kerala High court the Lakshadweep administration submitted that it has received 593 comments, suggestions and objections about the draft regulation. The number of regulation proposed at the very peak of the pandemic, when Little public scrutiny was anticipated must be probed for their National and public benefit and rolled back. If not then struck down by our constitutional courts.

Kerala High court rejects petition against draft regulation of Lakshadweep administration.

The regulation proposes to develop towns on inhabited Islands.

A division bench of the Kerala high court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition challenging the draft Lakshadweep development authority regulation 2021 which proposes to develop towns on inhabited Lakshadweep Islands.

The petition was filed by KP Noushad Ali, secretary of Kerala Pradesh Congress committee. According to him, the draft regulation grants the

18) The fundamental right is manifestly and wholly arbitrary and unreasonable so it is violative of article 14.

19) Draught Panchayat regulation 2021.

administrator the power to declare any area to be a planning area.. on the islands for the purpose of development.

The petitioner contented that the draft bill gave sweeping powers to the administration and all its bodies to directly interfere with an islanders right to propose and retain their property. The draft regulation was widely opposed as it vested that the administrator with the powers to remove or usurp small holdings of property owned by the islanders. The petitioner also challenged the procedure to be followed for auctioning livestock on the islands and also the decision to discontinue the service of the temporary staff engaged by the administration in certain sectors.

Dismissing the petition, the bench comprising justice SV Bhatti and justice Murali Purushothaman observed that examination off the legality of the draft regulation which was under the active consideration of the administration was completely premature. The draft stipulation could not be challenged through a public interest litigation.

The court also noted that it was well settled that companioning the course concerning services matters by way of a public interest litigation was impermissible and also unavailable on the ground that the petitioner lacked the locus standi to question in the legality of the decision.

Besides, the petitioner had not satisfied as to his standing vis-a-vis the affairs of Lakshadweep Island to entertain the public interest litigation. The petitioner in the name of the public interest litigation could not expand the consideration with inchoate knowledge about the inhabitants of the island, the court added.

A critical analysis on the draft luxury development authority regulation 2021.

The draft luxury development authority regulation 2021 20is a proposed regulation to provide for the development of towns in Lakshadweep. It is to be enacted by the exercising powers conferred by article 24021 of the constitution, under which the president has the power to make regulations for the peace, progress and good government. Natives of Lakshadweep are upset with many decision including allowing outsiders to enter UT during pandemic, dictating their food choices and permitting sale of liquor.

The residence of Lakshadweep are up in arms against the sweeping administrative reforms being imposed on them in the name of development by the administrator who was appointed to the position on December 5, 2020.22

After his appointment, he had opened the islands to tourist after having done away with the stipulation for mandatory quarantine of the island bound travelers in Kochi and in Lakshadweep. The previous administrator had ensured the quarantine because each of the 10 Islands have just one hospital each making it impossible for medical facilities to be accessible to all. The opening of islands mean that Lakshadweep, which had been declared a covid-free region last year ending up with 6,847 cases until May 24.23

At the cases multiplied Patel put the residence under lockdown for 2 months. While the residents were under lockdown Patel introduced the draft regulation for the creation of a Lakshadweep development authority regulation which is being seen by the residence as an attempt to take over the small land holdings of the islanders at the behest of real estate sharks.

20) The draft luxury development authority regulation 2021.

21) Article 240.

22) Importance of the date December 5 2020.

23) Lakshadweep declared covid free region last year ending up with 6847 cases until may scheduled tribes24 , have been attempting to mobilize public opinion against these draft the last date for the submission of commons was May 19 but the residents found about the draft regulation only a week after it was put out due to the weak internet and cyclone sweeping through. So, more than 3,000 responses have been sent to the administrator demanding that the draft regulation be withdrawn.

This draft regulations state that any area in the island can be declared as the area of bad layout or obsolete development, by the government through publishing a development plan in accordance with the procedure established in the LDAR 2021,25 irrespective of the fact that whether such an area is inhabited by the local population or not. The section 2 (29) 26while defining relocation of population states that in relation to an area of bad layout or absolete development or slum area can be relocated to another area for developing such an area. This means that the local community will not have any peace of mind or security for their own property as the government will have the power to declare any area as area of bad layout.

In Lakshadweep, where the maximum land area is limited to only 2.5 to 4.66 square kilometer relocation implies being moved out from their place of birth and land, which is contrary to write to Life insurance under article 21 of the constitution of India27. The section 27 of the LDAR 2021 empowers the planning and development authority to carry out fresh service every 10 years and make alterations or additions to the development operation. 28Section 29 states that any land area required, reserved or designated in a development plan shall be deemed to be land

24) 98 percentage of islanders belong to scheduled tribes.

25) LD AR 2021.

26) Section 2 (29).

27) Life insurance under article 21.

28) Power of section 27 of the LD AR 2021.

needed for a public purpose irrespective of the locality and type of land.29

This means that even if an islander complies with all the requirements of the LDAR 2021 and has settled in an area earmarked as planned area, daddy say hi possibility that his home may be relocated or altered if a new requirement is evolved due to the fresh survey, explained Faseela. Union territory of Lakshadweep is an archipelago consisting of 36 islands of which only 10 islands are inhabitable with an area of 32 square kilometer located at about 220 to 440 km away from the coast of Kerala. Each island is a maximum of 2 to 4 kilometer of which 20 m are under coastal regulation zone where no construction is possible in front of the beach.30

One third of the available land is owned by the government. This means only two square kilometer of available Island land is available for private ownership and in some cases private owners are on government land. There is minimal land in hand of local citizen 31translating into 10,000 people in an island. That’s the kind of land scarcity. In smaller Islands such as bitra around 200 people live, set a local government official, who did not want to be identified.

The draft notification goes on to highlight that development could mean the carrying out of building, engineering, mining, quarrying or cutting of a hill or any portion of any building or land. Explaining this, Faseela said that the administrator did not understand the geography of the islands. If activities such as mining and querrying take place in the name of development on these islands it will erase the islands from existence she underscored.

29) Section 29.

30) Each Island is maximum of 2 to 4 km of which 20 m are under coastal regulation zone.

31) minimal land in hand of local citizen.

The notification identifies that the administrator of Lakshadweep as the government and as the absolute authority in matters related to LDAR 2021 including appointment of chief Town planner, planning and development authorities, declaration of any area as planning area or in case of amalgamation of two or more planning areas into one planning area under this regulation. The administrator makes rules and regulations in this regard. In what will ensure devastation of the ecologically fragile area the draft states that PDA must prepare a land use map which has highways, arterial roads, Major Street, for existing and proposal lines of communication, including railways, tram ways, and canals in addition to provision for controlling and regulating the use and development of land within the development area.

The islands of Lakshadweep have tiny land areas and therefore it is geographically impossible to construct highways and railways in this lands. City restriction in a small land area such as Lakshadweep Islands Bill suffocate the local community and force them to migrate, pointed out a resident. Section 35 of the L D A R states that for any development that an islander intends to make on private land the resident has to seek permission of the planning and development authority which has powers to approve or reject such request.32 In case an approval is granted, the maximum period allowed for such development will only be 3 years. After which the PDA will again have authority to approve or reject the request leaving the islander at the mercy of local government.

Additionally, even if the permission has been granted, PDA has the right to withdraw permission without consultation and the penalty for unauthorized consultation is a maximum of rupees 2 lakh and incremental penalty of rupees 25,000 per additional day of violation.33

32) Section 35 of LD AR.

33) PDA has the right to withdraw permission without consultation and the penalty for unauthorised consultation is a maximum of 2 lakh and incremental penalty of 25000 per additional day of violation.

Section 106 of the draft regulation has most of the islanders worrying because it provides power to the administration to enter into a property to carry out any inspections without any consent of the occupier or owner of the property.34

L D A R what’s the last nail in coffin.

The draft regulations of L D A R where the proverbial last nail in the coffin for the islanders. Resentment had begin when Patel known to be close to both PM Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah open the islands for tourism without paying heed to the local population. His first move as the newly appointed administrator was to withdraw the standard operating procedures that protected the islands from the covid-19 pandemic for a year. As of May 25 the islands have recorded a test positivity rate of 66 % 35 . He followed it up with the draft Lakshadweep animal preservation regulation 2021 on the ban of transportation, sale, storage and consumption of beef in the island. For the local residence beef along with the fish are the part of their staple diet. The new regulation directly attacks the right of the people to consume food of their choice.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi 36has underscored on social media that the people of Lakshadweep have nurtured there the BJP government and its administration have no business to destroy this Heritage to harass people or impose arbitrary restrictions and rules on them. Why can’t the people of Lakshadweep be consulted, she asked and extended Full support to the islanders.

The central government has maintained silence on the entire matter so far. It may be recalled that Praful Patel served as minister of state for

34) Section 106 of the draft regulation.

35) As of May 25 the islands have recorded a test positivity rate of 66 %.

36) Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi.

home in Gujarat from 2010 – 2012 when Narendra Modi was the CM, before he lost 2012 assembly polls37. He was appointed as administrator of Daman and Diu in 2016 and shortly thereafter as administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli after Modi assumed charge as PM in 2014.38 The position of administrator of these union territories has traditionally been held by IAS officers.

37) Praful Patel served as minister of state for home in Gujarat from 2010 to 2012 when Narendra Modi was the CM before he lost 2012 assembly polls.

38) Appointed as administrator of Daman and Diu in 2016 and thereafter administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli in 2014.

Author: ADITH.S S, SREE NARAYANA LAW COLLEGE, POOTHOTTA, KOCHI

Editor: Kanishka VaishSenior Editor, LexLife India.

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