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Lakshadweep Administration Contesting Recommendation To Shift Island’s Jurisdiction To Karnataka High Court From Present Kerala High Court

This has come to the scene when numerous cases were filed before the Kerala High Court against the Lakshadweep administration’s recent policies which have been impeded strongly.

By: Sachin Jain, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi

Due to such extensive protests over its recent policies, the Lakshadweep Administration is contesting a recommendation to shift Kerala High Court’s legal jurisdiction over the islands to Karnataka High Court. 

The jurisdiction of the High Court can only be shifted through an act of the Parliament as per Article 241 of the Constitution of India. Also, Article 241, Clause (1), states that the Parliament may, by law, constitute a High Court for a Union Territory or make a court in the territory to be the High Court for any such purposes made by the Constitution.

The filing of numerous cases before the Kerala High Court against the new administrator of Lakshadweep, Praful Patel, regarding the recent policies viz., Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR), Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (Goondas Act) and Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulations (LAPR), which effectively introduce a ban on beef on the island, gave a strong rise to this scene.

Notably, in May this year, a plea has been filed before the Kerala High Court putting forward concerns that citizens have not been given reasonable opportunity to affirm their opinions and objections on the Draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, 2021 (LDAR) and the Draft Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulations, 2021 (LAPR).

The plea sought a grant of extra 30 days for residents to give their remarks on the Draft LDAR and LAPR among other requests.

Residents of the Union Territory Lakshadweep have also come to the roads and social media to protest a few of these policy norms of the new administrator. 

Out of those, some include, the amendment of the Standard Operating Procedure for visiting the Islands during the COVID-19 pandemic, shattering hutments of fishermen and changing the standards for eligibility to stand for Panchayat Elections.

Eventually, the consequences of protests led to various arrests and also the sedition charges on filmmaker Aisha Sultana under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code. However, on 17 June, the Kerala High Court granted her interim protection against arrest for a week.

Conclusively, the Kerala Assembly has newly passed an agreed resolution demanding that the new Administrator be noticed.

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