The government cannot act like Robin Hood, the Kerala High Court has asserted, as it cancelled the acquisition of nearly 40,000 acres of land under the Land Conservancy Rules in 2013. The law should not be violated for a populist measure, the court reminded the government.
Dealing a power-packed blow to the government, the court annulled an order issued by Special Officer M G Rajamanikyam taking over the land, which included thousands of acres owned by Harrisons Malayalam Limited which own several estates spread over eight districts in the state. The company had been accused of acquiring the land using fraudulent means.
The division bench’s order comes on petitions filed by Harrisons and others.
The law secretary had earlier conveyed to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan that there is no provision in the law to take back land held by companies for several years. He cited the foreign exchange regulations act, FERA, and the Indian Independence Act to convince the CM that these laws do not provide a takeover. Rajamanikyam’s recommendations violate statutory provisions, he asserted.