KOCHI: Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan on Thursday approached the Kerala High Court seeking a directive to recall the judgment of a Division Bench directing to restore the land taken over by state from resort owners in Munnar and directing the government to pay a compensation of `10 lakh to the Cloud 9 Resort owner as provisional compensation for destroying the building in the property.
The judgment in the Munnar case was pronounced on July 25 by a Division Bench of the High Court of Kerala comprising the-then Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A M Shafeeque. Three days prior to the date of pronouncement of the judgment Justice Manjula Chellur was transferred as Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court. In view of the notification, Justice Manjula Chellur, had vacated her office as contemplated under Article 217(1)(c) of the Constitution. Counsel for the petitioner D Anil Kumar submitted that the provision of the Constitution operates on its own upon the issuance of notification. Therefore, from July 22 onwards Justice Manjula Chellur had ceased discharging duties as Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court. Hence she could not have pronounced the judgment in the case. He pointed out that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy declared that even though the government would file a review against the judgment, he categorically stated that the constitutional issue of pronouncing a judgment after the orders of transfer of the Chief Justice would not be taken on a ground in the review petition.
The petitioner waited till the government filed a review plea. After going through the review petition, the petitioner has now understood that the government has not raised the issue of Article 217(1) (c). The action on the part of Justice Manjula Chellur was not in terms of Article 217 (1) (c) of the Constitution of India and since the government has not raised the issue, the petitioner approached the court, the petition stated.
The eviction drive of illegal encroachment in and around Munnar was started when the petitioner was the Chief Minister. The petitioner is approaching the court not only as the Leader of the Opposition but also as an Indian citizen, the petition stated.