Courts Update Kerala HC dismisses PIL challenging draft Lakshadweep rules as...

Kerala HC dismisses PIL challenging draft Lakshadweep rules as premature

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New Delhi, June 18 (ILNS): The Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed a PIL challenging the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation and other regulatory actions observing that they were still under active consideration by the administrator – Praful Khoda Patel – and hence the examination of their legality is completely premature.

The division bench of Justices SV Bhatti and Murali Purushothaman passed this judgement while hearing a petition which claimed to have been filed to protect the interests/rights of the people of Lakshadweep, a Union Territory, from the ulterior motive of destroying the traditional life and culture.

The order reads: “The petition, at the instance of petitioner, is premature, the prayers as made are unavailable and the petitioner has not satisfied as to his standing vis-à-vis the affairs of Lakshadweep island to entertain the Public Interest Litigation. For the said reason the prayer concerning is liable to be rejected and accordingly rejected.

“The prayer though is one for mandamus/certiorari still the prayer has the effect of acting as writ of prohibition against respondents from discharging the function or the duty conferred on them by the Constitution of India. Draft stipulation therefore cannot be accepted for challenge in the Public Interest Litigation,” the Court said. “For the above reasons, the Petition fails and accordingly dismissed”, the order reads.

The court stated that the petitioner is a permanent resident of Malappuram, Kerala. A reading of the petition discloses that the petitioner never ever had any direct participation or concern with the people, affairs, or administration of Lakshadweep.

The petitioner alleges that the steps being initiated by respondents are illegal and violative of articles 15, 16, 19 and 21 of the constitution. “It needs to be noted at the present stage of our consideration that the notifications are at either preliminary stage or drafts are kept in public domain inviting suggestion, views etc. from Islanders,” the court held.

The court held: “It is sufficient to examine whether the writ petition is championing an effective cause or the prayers are premature. The writ prayer refers to is a circular issued by the assistant director (Disaster Management)/5th respondent stipulating the modalities to be followed by persons or travellers interested in visiting Lakshadweep island.”

The respondents have filed a counter affidavit, objecting to the maintainability of the writ petition and have also set their stand on the other objections raised by the petitioner concerning the exhibits under challenge.

“The court would examine the stand of respondents to the extent required while disposing of the Public Interest Litigation and is of the view that case of both the parties is examined on preliminary objections. Further, we would examine the merits of the instant Public Interest Litigation on the material relied on and prayers made in the Public Interest Litigation”, the court said.

The court further stated that the petition refers to circumstances touching upon the steps taken by the respondents and raises objections available in law against the steps now initiated by respondents. For the view we are proposing to take, we deem it completely unnecessary to burden our judgment with a long narrative of the case as stated by the petitioner as well as the respondents.

“The apprehension expressed by the petitioner pales into insignificance, in the light of the judgment in W.P.(C) No.1079/2021, wherein challenge to circular was rejected. Hence renewed challenge to Circular is mis-conceived and unavailable. The court is of the view that examination of legality of draft regulation which is in the active consideration of respondent, is completely premature. It is well settled that championing cause concerning service matters by way of Public Interest Litigation is impermissible and also unavailable on the ground that the petitioner lacks the locus to question the legality. The prayer made against these exhibits is also liable to be rejected,” the Court observed.

ILNS\SS\SJ

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