The draft, which proposes to change the existing land ownership on the islands and provides for the development of towns, is part of six legislations proposed by Lakshadweep administrator Praful K Patel. The home ministry, which deals with the legislative and constitutional matters relating to Union Territories, raised queries with the administration after Patel’s moves snowballed into a major political controversy with all parties opposing those.
Patel, a former Gujarat home minister, is also the administrator for Daman and Diu. He took additional charge of Lakshadweep after the death of former administrator Dineshwar Sharma last year.
Last week, Union home minister Amit Shah held consultation with political representatives from Lakshadweep and assured them that the laws would not be implemented against the wishes of the local people. On Saturday, Sunni leader Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliar in a statement said Shah had called him up to give the assurance.
Home ministry officials said the UT administration had been asked to hold “further consultations” on the regulations.
The Centre is planning to seek a legal opinion also on other proposals of the Lakshadweep administration, including Panchayat Regulation 2021, officials said. The proposal bars people with more than two children from becoming a member of the gram panchayat. Those who already have more than two children can contest provided they do not have further children, according to the proposal.
Regulations proposed under the draft Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act have also invited widespread opposition. The proposed law allows detention of anti-social elements for six months to a year without legal representation. The regulation is being opposed by the residents on the ground that the islands have one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
Defending its action, the Lakshadweep administration has said it was laying the foundation for the future of islands in a planned way and to develop it on the lines of Maldives in two decades.