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Kerala High Court Stays Show Cause Notice for Demolition of a Madrassa by Lakshadweep Administration

Kerala High Court Stays Show Cause Notice for Demolition of a Madrassa by Lakshadweep Administration

The eviction and demolition of a long-standing Madrassa in Lakshadweep was halted by the Kerala High Court on 27.07.2021(Monday).

The interim ruling was issued by Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan, who directed the Lakshadweep Administration to file a counter affidavit within four weeks, The case will be heard again once the time limit has expired. Until then, the court stated, the respondents shall not seek to interfere with the petitioner’s ownership of the madrasa that is the subject of (show cause) notice, nor shall they demolish any structures.

The President of Al Madrasathul Uloomiya of Minicoy Island, Lakshadweep, had filed a petition in the Court. The petitioner had gone to court to challenge the Administration's decision to destroy and expel the Madrassa from its assigned premises after issuing a show-cause notice.

The show cause notice was issued referencing to Regulation 15 of the Laccadive Minicoy and Aminidivi Islands Land Revenue and Tenancy Regulation, 1965 and Rule 15 of the Laccadive, Minicoy and Aminidivi Islands Land Tenancy Rules, 1968 to evict the Madrassa from the land it currently occupies, according to Advocate P Deepak, appearing for the petitioner.

Moreover, he contended, as the petitioner was granted land in 1980 under Regulation 14(2) of the Regulations, he cannot be classified as a person possessing pandaram property without valid authorization.

It was further contended that before issuing the notice, the jurisdictional body was obliged to make an order authorising or denying authorization to divert the property under the requirements of such Regulation.

Furthermore, the petitioner claimed that the Deputy Collector, who is not a competent authority under the Regulations, issued the aforementioned statement. 

Sabmiller India Ltd. v Union of India & Ors. [2019 (2) KHC 484] was used by the Supreme Court to argue that a challenge can be brought against a show-cause notice if the statutory authority transgresses the bounds of its jurisdiction.

For the Administration, Senior Central Government Standing Counsel S Manu testified that the petitioner had previously filed a submission challenging the notification with the appropriate authorities.

After hearing the parties, the Court issued an order, halting the demolition of the madrassa and directing the respondents to evaluate the petitioner's documents and make a judgement in accordance with the law after giving him an opportunity to be heard.

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