Lakshadweep is the smallest union territory of India. The region of Lakshadweep comes under the jurisdiction of the Kerala High Court. What are the current issues going on in Lakshadweep and the reason behind their protest, what are their rights that are violating?
The administrator of the union territory is appointed by the president under Article 239. The current administrator of Lakshadweep Island is Praful Khoda Patel since last December 2020. He is also the current administrator of union territory Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu appointed by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.
Since few last days ago on social media, it has been trending #SaveLakshadweep. People are protesting in the union territory and the reason behind the protest is due to the change of Administration. He introduced many bills which directly or indirectly violate the fundamental rights of the people.
List of all current issues that are the main reasons behind the protest are as follows:-
- Prevention of Anti-social Authority (PASA) Regulation, 2021.
- Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR), 2021.
- Introduction of liquor shops on the island.
- The Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation, 2021.
- The police under Praful Patel is demolishing fishing harbours, labelling them as unauthorised settlements.
- Ban non-vegetarian food in mid-day meal.
- Change in the system of SOP (standard operating procedure).
- The Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation, 2021.
Prevention of Anti- Social Authority (PASA) Regulation, 2021
All these problems for the union territory started with the replacement of a Civil Servant with the administrator Patel, who was former Gujarat home minister under the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Only within 5 months, the number of crisis have raised much.
PASA is introduced by Patel in January 2021 this act is known to be something as Goondas act. According to this act, the government gets the power to detain any person without any prior notice to him. They can detain a person for up to a year, Without disclosing it to the public, resulting in punishing those who are more democratically protesting.
Section 3 of PASA states that the authority can detain any person only if the authority feels that this person may cause harm to the people or dangerous person for the people, money lending offender, cyber offender, or immoral offender can be detained for a year.
PASA is not only introduced in Lakshadweep but also in some other states of India such as Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Congress member doctor L. Hanumanthaiah mumbled that this act infringes upon the constitutional right of a person. In the Rajya Sabha during zero hours he said that already there are enough laws to deal with the crime as the population is very fewer people of union territory are very peaceful and has a low crime rate.
Regarding this act, a petition has been filed by K.P. Naushad secretary of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee he requested not to implement till the time of interim relief he was so against this act.
Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR), 2021
According to this regulation, the administrator can remove or relocate the people of islanders from their properties without their will. The authority can take any area from the islanders except cantonment areas.
This regulation directly violates their right to possess and retrain their property. It violates Article 21 which says that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal property.
Development can be of any type such as building, mining, quarrying, engineering, railways, airports, national highways etc.
ARTICLE 240 OF THE CONSTITUTION
LDAR enacted through this article of the Constitution. Under this article, the president has the power to make regulations for the peace, progress and the benefit of the people of the union territory.
Elamaram Kareem CPI(M)’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala says Patel only wants to acquire the land of the islander and give it to the big corporators he also wrote a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind requesting him urgently call back Patel.
THE LAKSHADWEEP ANIMAL PRESERVATION REGULATION, 2021
This is also another reason for violating the right of the islanders due to this regulation people of union territory are unable to eat the food according to their choice or culture. As there are restrictions on slaughtering and transport of beef, and bull. Ban on the products of beef.
Patel ban on beef products through prevention of cow slaughter act of Uttar Pradesh. According to this act, no person can transport any cow or Bull within the state from outside the state or within the state if anyone do so is punishable under this act. A similar type of regulation is going to be implemented in the Union Territory.
This regulation violates the Article 15, 16, 19 and 21 of the Constitution, this is undemocratic and anti People regulation, it causes the loss to the people who all are only dependent on dairy products as their source of employment. This results in the unemployment of many workers as people are not able to carry on their business, government also closed down Dairy farms that are operated by the animal husbandry department.
Another cause is that the non-vegetarian food item is removed from the menus of the school, as it is an island most of the people are dependent on the seafood, there is a culture of eating the seafood but it is banned by the administrator.
THE POLICE ARE DEMOLISHING FISHING HARBOURS
The police under Patel are demolishing the fishing Harbour labelling it as an unauthorized settlement the main occupation of the islander is pisciculture. Poor people are being harassed by this type of all new rules. Most of the places in India is hit by the cyclone Tauktae, Lakshadweep also hit by this cyclone and it caused great damage to the fishermen as their boats and instruments were damaged by the cyclone and they were unable to place their boat in the shed as the sheds were demolished by the police.
The gear of the fisherman was set on fire they have done this crucial thing at Midnight when the people were sleeping and they were also forced to remain inside their homes as curfew is imposed in the union territory. This caused damages to the fisherman, many of them lost their boats and sheds as well.
Fishermen lost their livelihood, and authority is not providing any type of help to the poor people.
INTRODUCTION OF A LIQUOR SHOP ON THE ISLAND
On many islands of Lakshadweep consuming liquor is allowed, this new rule allows many foreigners to enter the island and consume liquid. This rule again hurts the religious feeling of the people.
CHANGE IN THE SOP (STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE) SYSTEM
Lakshadweep was free from a coronavirus throughout 2020 not even a single case was found there. The island was free from coronavirus because of the strict protocol followed by the health minister.
People who visit the island had to be quarantined for one week followed by the negative report of the RT- PCR test. Without all these conditions no one can enter the island. This protocol was very strict as in Lakshadweep there were not good medical facilities it becomes very difficult for islanders to get proper medical facilities. By following this protocol island was free from Coronavirus.
But the changes are made in the SOP system as anyone can enter the island with a negative RT-PCR report obtained two days before their travel.
Soon after the change in the SOP system, the first case of coronavirus was reported on 17th January 2021 in Lakshadweep Island. On the island, the houses were built very close to each other and the population is already very less there were more chances of spreading the disease. There the situation becomes like the bursting of firecrackers. The situation is becoming worst day by day.
THE LAKSHADWEEP PANCHAYAT REGULATION, 2021
Under this regulation, the person who has more than two children were disqualified from the election of the gram panchayat. Article 243F says that only a person who is qualified to the state legislature shall be qualified to be chosen as a member of a panchayat only the difference is of age criteria. This is nothing else more than misleading propaganda. Again this regulation violates the right of the citizens. By this regulation Article 14 of the Constitution is violated.
This regulation will not apply to those parents who have two children before this regulation came into effect but those who will have two children in the future will not eligible for the contest of the gram panchayat election.
On this regulation Poonam Muttreja executive director, population foundation of India says that “The proposed regulation is suicidal and defies all logic.” Further, she said instead of imposing population control measures, Lakshadweep needs to take a step to contain a future reduction in TFR.
The protests have erupted on Lakshadweep Island because of many reasons, it is the first time in the history of Lakshadweep that these types of things are happening, the crime rate of Lakshadweep is already very low. Hence, there is no need to pass such types of furore and draconian laws, people were living in peace and harmony with each other but after the new administration, Patel brought many changes in the entire system which hurts the religious, cultural feelings of the people residing of Lakshadweep. People were demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ramnath Kovind urgently call back Patel. The Kerala High Court however has declines to stay the implementation of LDAR and all the other three regulations are still with the Home Ministry for scrutinizing purpose, it will be interesting to see how things will go once these regulations will be passed and get the assent of the President.
Author(s) Name: Umra Khan (Student, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi)
 India Const. art. 239, subs. by The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956.
 United News India, http://www.uniindia.com/news/parliament/pasa-act-lakshadweep-rs/2351511.html, (last visited June 5, 2021)
 The New Indian Express, https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2021/may/28/kerala-hc-seeks-administrators-response-on-plea-challenging-new-regulations-in-lakshadweep-2308694.amp, (last visited June 9, 2021).
 India Const. art. 21.
 India Const. art. 240, subs. by The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956.
 India Today, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/lakshwadeep-administrator-praful-khoda-patel-elamaram-kareem-1806267-2021-05-24, (last visited June 6, 2021).
 U.P. Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, No. 1, Acts of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, 1955.
 India Const. art. 15.
 India Const. art. 16.
 India Const. art. 19.
 India Const. art. 243-F.
 India Const. art. 14.
 The Siasat Daily, https://www.siasat.com/lakshadweep-administrators-controversial-decisions-upset-locals-2143822/amp/, (last visited June 9, 2021).
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