THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Revenue and Law Departments are at loggerheads over acquiring large tracts under the ‘illegal possession’ of plantation majors. Even as the Law Department rejected special officer M G Rajamanickam’s report on taking back such plots, the Revenue Department is gunning for a new legislation to acquire them.
Soon after the Law Department gave its opinion against the report, the Revenue Department appointed C K Padmakaran - former special secretary with the Law Department - as a consultant for the draft legislation.
In his report, Rajamanickam had said the land in possession of plantation majors could be taken back citing violations of the Indian Independence Act and FERA. However, the Law Department made it clear the government could go for a new legislation for acquiring such plots.
Law Secretary P H Kurien said his department had given its opinion regarding various aspects of framing a new legislation. “The Revenue Department has appointed a former secretary with the Law Department for framing the draft of the legislation,” he said.
When contacted, Law Secretary B G Harindranath said no land could be taken back citing violations of sections under the Indian Independence Act and FERA. “It will never stand in a court of law,” he said. “We had said there was nothing wrong in framing a new legislation. What we said was taking back the tracts citing the Independence Act was impractical.”
Rajamanickam’s report said foreign companies were holding land, flouting the rules of the state. As all treaties and agreements had become null and void with the Indian Independence Act, the land agreements prior to Independence stood cancelled and the plots should remain with the government.
However, Harindranath said the act only referred to political agreements and it had nothing to do with the other agreements.He said the government could invoke the Land Conservancy Act if it wanted to take back such tracts. He also said pattayam cancellation could not be evoked through this act. The Law Department also cited various Supreme Court orders and observations regarding the Indian Independence Act, showing how it could not be applied in taking back land in the possession of plantation majors.