High Court pulls up State Govt.

The Kerala High Court on Thursday pulled up the State Government for doing “nothing” with regard to construction of a judicial complex in Idukki despite passage of 25 years since the project was first proposed.

The High Court was also displeased with the Government’s stand that the allocation, back in 1997, could not have been done by a local self-government institution as the land in question was vested with the Revenue Department.

“You (State) are waking up to this 25 years after the proposal? This is a sad day as far as the judiciary is concerned,” Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan said during hearing of a plea moved by the Bar Association of Idukki challenging an order cancelling allotment of two acres earmarked for construction of the judicial complex.

The association, represented by advocate George Mathew, said in its plea that the special court under the POCSO Act, Judicial First Class Magistrate’s Court, Munsiff Court, and the respective offices of government pleaders and prosecutors attached to these courts were functioning out of the district headquarters at Idukki.

“All the above-mentioned offices are functioning under limited facilities provided at the Civil Station at Kuyilimala in Idukki. There arose a need for more facilities and also an independent need of buildings for courts at the district headquarters,” the plea said and added that as a result the matter was taken up before the Idukki Development Authority (IDA) in 1997.

The IDA had allotted two acres for construction of the complex and the entire procedure, including taking possession of the land, was completed by September 2019 and “steps were on the anvil to develop the property and start construction”.

However, in June this year, the Government cancelled the allotment of land and sought a fresh revised proposal with regard to construction of the complex, the plea said.

It claimed that this latest order “was not warranted” and was an attempt to ensure that establishment of an independent judicial complex at the district headquarters in Idukki was “thwarted or delayed”.

The court listed the matter on Friday and hinted that it might pass orders laying down a timeline for construction of the complex.

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