By LE Desk

New Delhi, June 20, 2021: The Lakshadweep administration, which has been facing widespread protests over its policies, has mooted a proposal to shift its legal jurisdiction from the Kerala High Court to the Karnataka High Court, officials said.

The proposal was initiated by the administration after several litigations were moved before the Kerala High Court against the decisions taken by the islands’ new Administrator Praful Khoda Patel, reported news agency PTI. These decisions included revising standard operating procedures for COVID- appropriate behaviour, introduction of the “goonda Act” and demolishing hutments of fishermen for widening of roads.

Mr. Patel, who is the Administrator of Daman and Diu, was given the additional charge of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep in the first week of December last year, when former Administrator Dineshwar Sharma died after a brief illness.

This year, as many as 23 applications including 11 writ petitions have been filed against the Administrator and also against the alleged high-handedness of either the police or the local government of the islands. The proposal for shifting its legal jurisdiction from the High Court of Kerala to Karnataka comes amid these developments.

Advisor of the Administrator, A. Anbarasu did not respond to queries on the proposal, PTI said.

However, Lakshadweep Collector S. Asker Ali said no proposal has been made by the administration to shift its legal jurisdiction from the Kerala High Court to the High Court of Karnataka.

“The news about shifting of the jurisdiction of the High Court from Kerala to Karnataka is baseless and is devoid of truth,” he said to PTI.

According to the law, the jurisdiction of a High Court can be shifted only through an Act of Parliament.

“Parliament may by law constitute a high court for a Union Territory or declare any court in any such territory to be a high court for all or any of the purposes of this Constitution,” states Article 241 of the Constitution.

Section 4 of the same article mentions that “nothing in this Article derogates from the power of Parliament to extend or exclude the jurisdiction of a high court for a State to, or from, any Union Territory or part thereof”.

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