CONSTITUTIONAL VALIDITY OF LAKSHADWEEP DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY REGULATION (LDAR) 2021

Reading time : 12 minutes

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In this article, we are evaluating and analyzing the fresh draft regulations introduced by the Lakshadweep administrator in the Union Territory.

Lakshadweep is an archipelago, situated in the Arabian sea and India’s tiniest union territory which consists of 36 islands appreciated for its extraordinary and radiant beaches and dense green landscapes. The organic landscapes, the granular beaches, bounteousness of biome, and absence of a hurried living strengthen the fascination of Lakshadweep with a total area of 32 sq. km which includes twelve atolls and ten inhabited islands. Kavaratti is the capital and principal town of Lakshadweep. It holds a characteristic spot in India’s topographical and ethnic inclusiveness with a mass Muslim population tracing descent through the female side, and ethnicity near to Kerala. Malayalam is the primary language spoken and inhabitants of Lakshadweep are listed as scheduled tribes. Apprehensive of the intimate and symbiotic bonds between the land, climate, culture, diversity and livelihoods of the native people, the union government has over the decades tried to follow an ecologically sound and human centered welfare schemes. Ever since, environmentalist, specialist, scientists and climate experts are reporting the danger to the red coral atolls preserving the islands, from increasing activities, climate variability, and high-water mark, and cautioning that the barrier reef on every side of the islands like Kavaratti are falling beyond their power of transformation and ominous to their entire existence. The need to chase ecological and climate-sensitive schemes in frangible environment becomes even more relevant with the Prime Minister himself reconstituting India’s dedication to universal climate crisis and thus the forthcoming COP 26 meeting within the United Kingdom.

The president of India has immediate power over the UT’s, who impliedly rule as per the Union government. This means that it’s governed by the President of India through an elected administrator under Article 239 of the constitution of India. Any set of rules presented on the islands obtain approval from both the Union Home Ministry and consequently the Union Cabinet. As an indirect executive authority, the Ministry of Home Affairs also has the jurisdiction to veto any rules or regulations put forward. This allows the union unhindered authority to govern these UTs.

In December 2020, the union government elected Praful Khoda Patel as the administrator of Lakshadweep. This is demonstrated as a governmental plan by many because the union diverged from the practice of nominating an IAS officer the administrator of the UT and in lieu, choose one of its party leaders. Lakshadweep has no legislature (not like Delhi) and authority to govern it are vested with the administrator. The power of the administrator arrives from Article 240(b) of the Constitution authorizes the president to promote regulations for peace, progress, and good governance in UTs. The president functions through the administrator in Lakshadweep and therefore the administrator is that the government of the UT. The idea and draft welfare schemes in the name of development threatens the public to revoke this model completely.

Recently, P.K. Patel has introduced various draft regulations and currently, these regulations haven’t been conceived well by the inhabitants of Lakshadweep Island, have led to a commotion among the public there as they blow of autocratic and imperious. For that reason, they and therefore the opposition parties dissented. The execution of power by the Lakshadweep administrator clearly indicates that administrative action is capable of adjusting the social, cultural, environmental, and economic landscape of the entire Union Territory. In effect, these regulations are declared by the administrator to enhance more power to the chief (administrator and subordinates under him). Hence, accurate inspection of such powers must be done to verify the unreasonable act of the administrator. To a great extent, the inhabitants of the Union Territory take a delight in their cultural heritage to ensure environmental sustainability. These tiny group of islands are conserved under various laws where alcohol trade are not permitted, even outlanders ought not purchase land, and visitors can come by with authorization from the government.

However, lately there exist distressed among the residents in recent times, the keyword Save Lakshadweep has been highlighted on social networking websites. Thereupon, what are the troublesome plans?

1) The Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR)

2) The Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (PASA)

3) The Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation (LAPR) in addition, Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation that has caused extensive tension in Lakshadweep and the country as a whole.

These above-mentioned laws were presented in the absence of people consultation and currently lies in the hands of Ministry of home affairs, the union government for essential approvals.

The Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR)

The administrator reasoned that these regulations might be want to develop and occupy land, improve amenities and acquire land for overall development. These regulations aim to uplift tourism, maintain sanitary conditions, conserve public health, and for the general welfare of inhabitants living in UT. Nevertheless, these regulations also allow unprecedented power to the “planning and development authority” (chairman, its members and also the chief town planner) who is straightaway selected by the administrator).

The administration acknowledges the requirements to advance welfare schemes for expanding opportunity to work, ecologically safe treatments of trawling, sewerage, garbage disposer boosting access to safe potable water, providing progressive learning, promoting well-paying employment instead of following customary jobs.

For development, the administrator has autocratic and flexible powers, which comprise the establishment of buildings, cutting off cliffs, displacement/ rehabilitating the inhabitants, authorize to proclaim any area as a planning area, and marking of land for Domestic/Commercial/Industrial/ farming purposes. The chief town planner has the only power to return up with developmental plans for the whole island, acquiring land and properties of the natives for developmental purposes and imposing arbitrary charges on persons who desire to flourish their land. Lastly, Section 117 of those regulations puts a bar on any legal proceedings against those executives who have given orders in straightness under the regulations.

LDAR implies a Maldivian style representation of travel and tourism expansion which comprise of hotels, restaurants and resorts. Paying no heed to dissimilarities between two islands, populace etc. this regulation permits the administrator to do any kind of activities for the betterment of the U.T such as to build highways etc. in tiny isle that scarcely exist approx.3 kms in extent, from a menace to the brittle environment of Lakshadweep. Aside from disregarding the exclusive location and communities, the LDAR also confer autocratic and stringent powers to the administrator to regulate numerous development projects and terrifying the inhabitants that he thinks is inevitable. Even the executives have so far wiped-out cabana, boatyard, fishing nets and roads of sailors, apparently for enhancement of touristry, asserting that they had intruded over government owned property and breach of Coast Guard Act and Coastal Regulation Zone laws.

The administration of the union territory remarks the drafts made by Praful Khoda Patel are focused to secure the welfare of the islanders as well as encouraging the isle as sightseeing attractions linked with Maldives. Nonetheless, the islanders outlook as destroying the ethnic and sociological system of the islands.

The Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation (LAPR)

Further laws put forward by the administrative aim’s food consumption of the natives. It forbids the transfer of cattle for the purpose of slaughter, trading or purchasing of beef or beef products, even without a warrant permits regulative authorities with powers to set foot in and examine sites. The draft law is extremely almost like laws in situ in many nations across the country, banning the slaughter, trade, and commerce of red meat.

Opposition forces assert that the BJP’s religious affairs is supporting the preference of the administration to initiate this law. The prohibition of meat and eradication of meat from students’ mid-day meals are observed by many as religious tactical influence which can cause a discomfort in Lakshadweep wherein entire territory is occupied by Muslim population. On the other hand, interesting fact is that these banning neither practiced in northeast nor Kerala nearby. Even the administrator closedown a government owned cattle farm providing milk for the inhabitants. A territory where inhabitants are constantly obsessed to seafoods or marine products and in the midst of rainy season, where trawling becomes unsafe, mostly veggies, fruits ad other edibles are rendered from shore and meat turn into become their important part of their food consumption. These laws forbid slaughter without authentic certification from a competent body and Section 5(2) forbid the issuance of such certificates for the killing of a cow, calf of a cow, bull, or bullock. The Act in addition forbids religious sacrifices of animals mentioned under Section 5(2) but permits those of other animals. Prior to 2017, the laws ruling cattle slaughter in India varied from state to state. Though, in May 2017, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals laws, a national ban was imposed on the exchange and purchase of animals for slaughter.

Moving towards the distinguished case laws:

Mohd. Abdul Faheem Qureshi v. Union of India[2], in this case the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India confirmed to put a stay on the union’s ban on cow slaughtering and stated that the path of the Madurai bench of Madras Judicature in S. Selvagomathy v. Union of India[3]in suspending the central’s ban on trade and purchase of beef in India will operate to the whole India. It further spoke to the government of India that the law itself lets in cattle slaughtering. In addition, declared to the authorities that the prohibition on cattle slaughter falls under the state list and it also infringes on the freedom of right to practice free trade.

This prohibition was ceased in July 2017 through this supreme court verdict, giving reassurance to leather and red meat industries. This is troublesome for Lakshadweep because it doesn’t have a legislature and falls under the indirect control of the central government whose notion might not with the indigenous people.

Section 7 of those proposed rules even limits the motion and transferring of animals referred to Sub section (2) of Section5 in the UT. The authority can also assume that such passage was done to kill that animal except such assumption is disapproved by the individual carry away the meat.

Section 9 gives authority to the administrative body to go in and, scrutinize upon the perception that a misdeed has been made.

Section 10(2) gives penalize those individuals who do an act in contravention of Subsection (2) of Section 5 with captivity, not longer than ten years, fine not less than Rs 1 lakh and could extend up to Rs 5 lakh.

Section 11 states the crime under the laws as cognizable and non bailable.

Draft Lakshadweep prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulations 2021

This regulation qualifies the administrator to confine any individual which extent for a year for criminal offenses such as (e crime, immorality, confiscating land, sexual assault or degrade the nature) etc. In a geography where criminal activities are already lowest or negligible as compared to other states and U. T’s. The dweep community have conveyed terror that confinement is to avert any riot against the administrative officials.

As stated in section 2, the rules are designed to come up with preventive detention of offenders to ensure law and order.

Section 3 of the draft rules gives power to the administrator to form order for preventive detention of a person.

A notice of imprisonment can be proceeded against any individual for the crimes made clear in Section 2 of the draft. Section 3, further states that public order is considered to be infringed if any individual impacts a sense of fear among the people.

Section 13 of this rule declares that the duration of preventive detention will be one year from the date of custody. In line with NCRB data, Lakshadweep has lowermost crime rates contrast states and UTs. Through numerous verdicts, the hon’ble Supreme Court has questioned the administration to cease from the implementation of extraordinary remedies to abridge Fundamental Rights.

In Joginder Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh[4] such an eminent case where the Apex court opined that no such detention ought to be driven by the officer in charge to do so and as we all know that rights always come with duties. Hence, he must be clear enough to give grounds for the arrest because confinement of an individuals can cause huge loss to his privilege and esteem.

The tyrannical ruling of the administrator is exposed to be questioned because it has an effect upon the constitutional rights of the inhabitants of Lakshadweep. In EP Royappa v. State of Tamil Nadu [5]Justice Bhagwati mentioned that “equality and arbitrariness are sworn enemies; one belongs to the rule of law during a republic while the opposite, to the whim and caprice of an absolute monarch”[6].

In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India[7], Justice Bhagwati stated that the “principle of reasonableness is an important element of equality or non-arbitrariness under article 14”. [8] In this case the Apex Court submitted that the Doctrine of Natural Justice is constitutive of equality before law, a command by the authority divesting an individual’s fundamental right without providing him a right to a fair and just hearing violates this doctrine. The court finally touched the conclusion by pointing that Articles 14, 19, and 21 are discordant but are integrated.

There are numerous examples where article 14 is put into action to safeguard the citizens from absolute rules and actions by governmental bodies. The draft rules created by the Lakshadweep administrator have the potential to impact Fundamental Rights under Articles 14, 19, 21, and 25 of the Constitution of India.

Being dealt with now under Article 21 that impartial hearing necessitates appropriate legal remedy. Further article 22 clause (1) ensures Right to a legal counsel of one’s choice. In Nandini Satpathy v. P. L. Dani [9]the Hon’ble Supreme Court noted that the right to legal practitioner which is also a constitutional claim should not be refused. These rules actually breach the constitutional rights of the inhabitants and provide power to the regulative authority to arrest those individuals who supported amidst CAA and NRC.

Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation 2021

The Lakshadweep atolls majorly comprise of natural and rural agricultural farming areas engage a structure of gram panchayats or (knowns as Dweep panchayat) and functions as local bodies. This new regulation arrives with a modification to provide 50 percent of seats shall be reserved for females and introduction of two child policy in U.T which states that for contesting in gram panchayat elections any member or nominated individual who have more than two children will get debarred from elections. According to the regulative authorities they gave a reasoning for two child policies that the density of the union territory is relatively exceeds the national average and the initial action will enhance installation and economic development. Officials states that even other states of India have related rules too. On the other hand, numerous specialists in opposition have declared that the scheme approach to risky and unlawful termination of pregnancy.

Besides others argue that this direction will certainly lower the functioning of local autonomy. For those sectors especially livestock farming, education, health centers, trawling etc. have been abridged and right away falls under the jurisdiction of administrator. Thus, they assume that it will upset the administration of the village panchayats.

Other unreasonable actions such as closure of schools to lessen state expenses, firing the younger generation from employments and majority population of Lakshadweep are government employees. However, nearly 300 to 400 people became jobless. The inhabitants express that before passing such regulations, the executive body should conduct a possible discussion with dweep panchayats otherwise its observed on a similar note by seizing land for freehold. Even the administrator marked it obvious that the residents should not lean on beypore seaport rather should transmit from mangalore port, hence it has initiated a great annoyance in public because since decades it shares a thick bond with its neighboring Kerala. Although many observes the act of administrator plans to reduce the connectivity of Lakshadweep form the mainland.

Moving towards the next heated issue related to alcohol. Primarily there was only single liquor shop at a resort and remaining isle were dry and there were restrictions imposed on tourists and they were strictly forbidding to carry alcohol to the islands but currently the administration permits the establishments and serving of alcohols and it frightens the local citizens that it might impact as well as harm their peaceful and harmonious environment.

Throughout the last year, Lakshadweep having prolonged, did not record any Covid 19 case and been a heaven unaffected by the widespread infection and even some specialists particularly honored for safekeeping the dweeps. Regrettably, in January 2021 Lakshadweep reported its first case this occurred under the supervision of newly appointed administrator of U.T. He modified the already existing covid procedures.  Earlier, the (SOP) gave instructions to the travelers to mandatorily follow a fourteen days isolation otherwise to stay in hotels even before taking RTPCR test. In this manner, relative preparations been formulated in nearby Kerala, Calicut and Mangalore as well. All the tourist needs to undertake a mandatory test and quarantine but under the regime of new administrator it terminated the 14 days quarantine guideline. Unfortunately, SOP got altered and new directions mainly demanding a Negative RTPCR test was the only precondition required to visit the dweep. As a result, cases increased constantly which led to the declaration of absolute lockdown. The great mass of the territory lay the criticism on the administrator for the rapid spread of Covid19.

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People with Objection are broadening their movement popularly called as ~#Save Lakshadweep#~ for non-implementation of these rules as well as reinstate normal living. K P Noushad Ali, a Congress Leader who filed a petition seeking to withdraw new development policy by reason of unrestricted jurisdiction of administrator which obstructs the socio economic and cultural heritage of Lakshadweep. The Kerala High Court repudiated to stop the execution of plans. Kerala legislature collectively approved a plan conveying unanimity with the inhabitants of the U.T., in opposition to the Lakshadweep administration and approaching the Central government to withdraw the administrator and implement urgent measures to safeguard the existence and bread and butter of the inhabitants. The progress of a tiniest Union Territory existing remoted far away from the mainland, which might have gone ignored for quite a few years, has presently made front-page headlines.

Under the constitution of India, there are various remedies available to put an end to any misuse of power and arbitrary action by the regulative authority. In our written constitution in no place remarked the wording of Natural justice. Nevertheless, the process of this principle has been wisely advanced in the constitution. The preamble consists of keywords such as justice, liberty, equality and fraternity which perform as defense to each and every individual in case of arbitrary ruling which is the cornerstone for the doctrine of natural justice. Along with preamble, article 14 make certain equality before law to the Indian subjects which hit the origin of unreasonableness and article 21 of the constitution promises life and protection of personal liberty to lead a life with grace. Moving towards article 22 ensure basic justice, fair trial and hearing to the detained individuals. Additionally, in case of infringement of fundamental rights and doctrine of natural justice there comes Article 32, 136, and 226 of the constitution of India accessible to the citizens of India. In various proceedings, the courts in India emphasized prudently to check and control abuse of discretion by the authorities, the aggrieved party should be ensured with being heard before passing a direction upon him so that it may lessen the possibility of unfair actions by the officials.

Under Articles 32 and 226, appropriate writs, commands and orders by the higher courts can be issued. Writ of Habeas Corpus are issuable to put a stop to unlawful imprisonment and writ of certiorari are exercised to restrict judicial, executive agencies like tribunals or even administrative authority from acting beyond the limits of its jurisdiction, breach of fundamental rights and doctrine of natural justice.

In U.P. Warehousing Corporation v. Vijay Narain[11] in this case, the Apex court hold that Writ of Certiorari can be applied when an administrative authority who is obligated to perform his duties but not done yet fairly or just. So, it may be regarded as an infringement to fair justice thus, it can be issued under Article 32 and 226 of Indian Constitution. In a democratic nation like India the responsibility and supremacy of governmental bodies is expanding promptly and to fulfill the requirements of general public, the executive choices become absolute necessity. With rapid execution of individual choices by regulative authority, some vigilant checks need to be done to prohibit excess of arbitrariness. As far as a state like India with codified laws, elements of natural rightfulness, predominance of administration of justice should be maintained. On this subject, (I) writer set forth that the supremacy of natural justice can govern only in a sphere where legislation is void itself in the beginning, judicial pronouncements of the hon’ble Supreme court and High courts should be reviewed which enables the necessity of the Doctrine of Natural Justice for the sake of justice.

The doctrine of natural justice is solidly anchored in Article 14 and 21 of the Indian constitution. The negligence of these rights and natural justice principle lead to arbitrary rule, consequently there is a breach of article 14 of the constitution of India i.e., equality before law and equal protection of law.

Judicial Inquiry

In India, the review may not happen concerning the lawfulness of the objective or grounds of the order. Although, judicial investigation is frequently conducted to detect if the objective is often accomplished by a less repressive replacement, i.e., the “necessity” of the deed. Moreover, it can examine even if any administrative act is reasonable within the welfare of constitutional government i.e., stabilizing of the law and order with public interest. The argumentative rules which are proposed by the administrator aren’t acceptable considering the well-being of a mass population. The rules to prohibit cow’s flesh by no means functions for the betterment of the islanders where above 90% of the residents are experiencing discomfort from such rules. The recent innovative plans which want to implement reform and cumulative of Lakshadweep has the likelihood to have an impact on Fundamental Rights of the constitution of India because it gives a choice in the hands of the administrative authority to obtain plots, transform housing plots for business purpose, and displacement of general public for betterment projects.

No matter when there is choice with an administrative authority, it results in mishandled on account of numerous reasons. In democratic form of governance when legislative authorities whose function is to legislate laws pay no attention to the desire of the general public in that case judicial supervision, observation and investigation should be ensured of those laws that enhance deviant or massive jurisdiction to these bodies. Since Mumbai attack in the year 2008, the significance of preserving this beautiful island far away from the shore has been remarkably expanded with security. Lakshadweep is salient and protection of those 36 islands are necessary for India’s assurance. Hence it located in Arabian Sea and it connects with freight companies in Middle East for commercial purpose. Rather than implementing these arbitrary rules and unrestricted power with the administrator, it would be better to execute Sustainable Development plans for the society will certainly bring a change in the quality of living in Lakshadweep.  Betterment of Lakshadweep need not to be dealt with politics, debates, controversy, but have to do with India and properly administered by sound and safe hands of the administration and specialists with conserving the interest and needs of the inhabitants.


[1] https://media.cntraveler.com/photos/5845955fe677ad7e572f89de/16:9/w_1280,c_limit/lakshadweep-islands-GettyImages-675619991.jpg

[2] 422 of 2017, 000419 of 2017, 499 of 2017, 497 of 2017

[3] W.P.(MD). Nos.10128 of 2017 and 10129 of 2017 &   

W.M.P.(MD). Nos.7769 to 7771 of 2017, W.P.(MD). No.10128 of 2017

[4] (1994) 4 SCC 260

[5] 1974 AIR 555 1974 SCR (2) 348 1974 SCC (4) 3 ACT: Constitution of India, Art.

[6] https://www.theleaflet.in/untrammelled-power-by-lakshadweep-administrator-is-against-democracy/

[7] 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621

[8] https://www.theleaflet.in/untrammelled-power-by-lakshadweep-administrator-is-against-democracy/

[9] 1978 AIR 1025, 1978 SCR (3) 608

[10] https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E2Kf9HuXsAImzgk.jpg

[11] 1980 AIR 840, 1980 SCR (2) 773

Author: K S ANANYA, AMITY UNIVERSITY, HARYANA

Editor: Kanishka VaishSenior Editor, LexLife India.

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