Kerala High Court restrains demolition of two houses in Lakshadweep

High Court also restrains Lakshadweep Administration from interfering with with the possession of properties of the residents

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday restrained the Lakshadweep Administration from demolishing the houses of two residents in Kavaratti island for allegedly constructing them on a no-development zone.

Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan passed the order on a writ petition filed by Ubaidulla Kunhiyammakkada and another person from the Kavaratti island challenging the notices directing them to vacate their homesteads and demolish them. The court also restrained the administration from interfering with the possession of their properties.

The court made it clear that they could very well appear before the authorities and raise all their legitimate legal contentions, including the lack of authority of the block development officer in issuing such notices.

No-development zone

According to the petitioners, the block development officer had issued them notices asking them to remove their houses on the ground that the structures were within 20 metres from the high tide line, which had been declared a no-development zone.

The petitioners contended that as per the Integrated Island Management Plan notified by the Lakshadweep Science and Technology department in 2015, no development was permitted in a radius of 20 metres from high tide line. However, the plan did not empower any authority to demolish the tribal people’s houses, which were constructed decades ago. Besides, the block development officers had no authority to issue such a notice.

In fact, only the revenue officers could issue such notice under the Laccadive Minicoy and Amini Islands Land Revenue And Tenancy Regulation, 1965.

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