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‘Ensure Peace, Progress & Good Governance’: 58 Lawyers, Researchers Urge President To Withdraw Draft LDAR 2021

‘Ensure Peace, Progress & Good Governance’: 58 Lawyers, Researchers Urge President To Withdraw Draft LDAR 2021

By Himani Baid

A group of 58 lawyers and researchers have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to withdraw the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 (LDAR) in the interest and well-being of citizens.

The draft LDRA gives the government powers to choose any plot of land for development and can override any public opposition.

 It was enacted under Article 240 of the Indian Constitution. President has the power to make regulations for the peace, progress, and good government of the Union territory of Lakshadweep under the Article.
 
 The letter expressed that, “The draft LDAR is disassociated from the social, cultural, economic and environmental realities of the Lakshadweep islands. We find that the draft LDAR not only fails to address its stated purposes of good governance, the conservation and promotion of public health, safety, and general welfare of the people but rather goes against these and will facilitate land grab and ecological destruction on these special islands.”

The letter featured a three-point list of concerns emerging from the draft LDAR stated as follows:
 (a) Violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 & 21 of the Constitution and principles of natural justice;
(b) Ignorance to customary laws of violation of Standing Committee (Report no 231);
(c) Island Management Plans (IIMPS) prepared under Raveendran Commission.

Further, the letter highlighted that the livelihood of islanders is directly dependent on the soundness of the lagoon and reef ecosystems.

And the land acquisitions provisions proposed by the draft LDAR go against the spirit of fairness, transparency, and livelihood rehabilitation mandated as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act, 2013.
 
 The collective has requested the President of India to guarantee the execution of the proposals of the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Raveendran Committee established by order of the Supreme Court in the case of Union Territory of Lakshadweep & Ors v. Seashells Beach Resort & Ors. for the development of the islands.

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