The Kerala High Court on Friday declined to stay the proposed Draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, 2021 (LDAR), among other administrative measures recently introduced including a beef ban, introduction of a Goondas Act, restrictions on the number of children a Panchayat member may have and the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions on the island. .A Bench of Justices Vinod Chandran and MR Anitha asked the respondents to file their response and posted the case for hearing after two weeks. .Advocate Anoop V Nair, appearing for the petitioner, requested that a stay be granted but Justice Chandran observed that there are matters of policy raised in the petition and that the authorities should file their reply first. .The petition was moved by KP Noushad Ali, Secretary of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, who contended that various measures have been introduced by the administration with the ulterior motive of destroying the traditional life and culture of the island. In particular, the following measures were highlighted: .Highlights of the petitioner's contentions.1. The Draft LADR vests the administration with powers to relocate people from their properties regardless of their will, for town planning or any developmental activity. This, the petitioner contended, violates Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The draft bill gives sweeping, arbitrary, unchecked powers to the government (and all its bodies) to directly interfere with an islander’s right to possess and retain their property, it was stated. It was elaborated that the Planning and Development Authority under the regulations can evict anyone who is found to occupy land under a final scheme formulated under the proposed law. Further, if the Authority is hindered from evicting the person, the District Magistrates can enforce the eviction upon the Authority's request. "It provides for forcible eviction, puts the onus on the owner to develop his holding as per the plan prepared by the authority as also to heavily penalize them in the event of non-compliance," the petitioner highlighted. Heavy development charges and levy processing fee is levied on the islanders under the LADR for change of zones under Sections 92 and 93. The regulation will destroy the way of life practiced by the islanders for generations, it was argued. .2. The plea contended that the proposed Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulations, 2021, which bars cow/bull/bullock slaughter, fails to consider the choices of the Island people, including their choice of food, culture and their livelihood. There is an apprehension that enforcing restrictions on slaughtering and transport of beef products is a backdoor beef ban. This is against Constitutional provisions including Article 15, 16, 19 and 21, the petitioner submitted. This is an undemocratic and anti-people regulation and constitutes a blatant onslaught on people who depend on dairy and the growing of bovine as a means of livelihood, it was submitted. The plea also highlighted how non-vegetarian food items were removed from the school menus in Lakshadweep earlier this year. .3. The next issued raised in the petition was regarding the Draft Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation, 2021 which disqualifies persons having more than two children from being Panchayat members. The petitioner contended that the same has been introduced to prevent many prominent leaders from taking part in the elections. Neither the island community nor the local bodies on the island ever raised such a demand. They were never consulted or heard before such draft regulations were framed, it was alleged. .4. The Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA), which is also known as the Goonda Act was urgently implemented on the islands in January 2021. Under this, a person can be detained without public disclosure and without any trial for a period of up to one year. The petitioner submitted that "Lakshadweep was a model area where jails and police stations were all vacant, without a single criminal. Hence, the PASA Act is a violation against the constitutional rights of the islanders and is used to take action against those people who protested during the CAA and NRC.".5. It was also claimed that a surge in COVID-19 cases came about after the administration unilaterally relaxed the Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) to state that anyone who has a negative RT-PCR Test 48 hours before travel could enter the islands. Lakshadweep reported its first COVID-19 case in January 2021 and the cases have already cross 8,000 following this relaxation, the petitioner stated..6. Hundreds of casual and contract labourers working under different departments have lost their jobs. Private sector jobs in Lakshadweep are limited and people mainly depend on the government for employment. Since January, close to 300 people have lost their jobs. The government terminated jobs for physical education teachers and mid-day meal cooks. Many were expelled from the department of Animal Welfare and the Department of Agriculture, the plea said. .7. The petitioner also submitted that the government closed down dairy farms operated by the Animal Husbandry Department. Island residents were wiped out from the administrative systems..8. Whereas a large number of islanders depend on fishing for income, the administration has demolished sheds used by fishermen for keeping nets and other equipment on the ground that they violated the Coast Guard Act..9. Due to cultural and religious reasons, there were restriction on the use of alcohol in Lakshadweep. However, the administration has unilaterally lifted this restriction on liquor despite repeated requests from the people not to do so. .10. Concern was also raised regarding the administration's decision that the islanders should no longer depend on Beypore (Kerala) for freight transmits. Instead, it was decided that they should depend on Mangalore Port (Karnataka) freight transmits. This will affect Beypore, and area "closely associated with the island since decades," the petitioner said. .These measures, the petitioner submitted, have caused great concern and suffering among islanders amid the pandemic. .The prayers made by the petitioner include:.To direct the authorities not to implement the Draft LDAR, 2021, the Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulations, and the Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulations until further objections are called for from Lakshadweep residents and fixing a time for the same after the COVID-19 restrictions are over; To direct that measures such as the relaxation of COVID-19 protocol, the introduction of PASA/ the Goondas Act, the disengagement of casual labourers in sports units, the disengagement of part time teachers, and the closure of dairy farms be rolled back; To declare the measures by the administration as illegal, unconstitutional and to quash them..[Lakshadweep] Plea in Kerala HC seeks "sufficient opportunity" to public for expressing opinion on Draft LDAR, Animal Preservation Regulations.On a related note, another petition was also moved in the High Court on Friday raising concerns that citizens have not been given adequate opportunity to express their views and objections on the Draft LDAR and the Draft Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulations, 2021.