The Kerala Government on Monday received a setback from Supreme Court regarding the Harrisons Malayalam land acquisition case. When the Kerala High Court denied the state government from using a special officer to acquire land belonging to Harrisons Malayalam Ltd, the government had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, which the court ruled out on Monday.
The state government had earlier claimed that the High Court did not pore over the reasons pointed out by the special officer, MG Rajamanikyam, as to why the government should acquire the lands that were once owned by the British, before the Independence.
Rajamanikyam, an IAS officer was appointed by the state to identify and reclaim all the illegal land holdings in possession of the various British companies.
According to a report by Manoramaonline, the Kerala Government had said that the as per the Kerala Land Protection Act, the special officer has the same powers of the court to decide on matters relating to land ownership. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, had clarified that the special officer does not have the power to decide the ownership of the land.
The report also says that the Kerala High Court denied the state from taking over the 38,000 acres of land that belonged to Harrisons Malayalam Ltd, one of the largest cultivator of tea in South India. It was against this verdict, that the state approached the Supreme Court.
According to reports, the state Revenue Department said that the move to approach the Supreme Court was relevant as the High Court had only ruled out the use of special officer to acquire the land and that it had not said anything about Harrisons Malayalam owning the land.
But with the Supreme Court also ruling out an order, pointing out that the special officer does not have the power to decide the ownership of the land, the state government is facing a roadblock in claiming the land.