HC orders statusquo with regard to Kovalam Palace

Kochi, Feb 22 (PTI) Kerala High court today orderedstatusquo with regard to Kovalam Palace beach resort atThiruvananthapuram following ownership dispute between thestate government and Mumbai-based Leela Group.

The interim direction in this regard was issued by adivision bench comprising Chief Justice J Chelemeswar andJustice Antony Dominic while admitting an appeal by thegovernment filed by state Chief Secretary against the Januaryseven order of a single judge declaring the 2005 enactmentmade by the state government to take over the resort as''unconstitutional, inoperative and void''.

The bench also issued notices to the Centre and Mumbaibased Leela Ventures Ltd.

The resort previously belonged to the ITDC. Followingits disinvestment in 2002, the private GulfFar group took andlater sold to Leela ventures Ltd.

There was a dispute between the state and Centralgovernments over the ownership of the resort.

The government brought an ordianance and enacted theKovalam Palace (Takeover by Resumption) Act 2005 to takeoverthe Palace, which was challenged by Leela ventures.

Earlier while allowing a petition by Leela ventures andKovalam Palace Director Venu Krishnan challenging the legalityof the Act, justice Thothathil B Radhakrishnan had declaredthe Act as unconstitutional and void and had stated that thestate cannot by law assert its title to immovable property onthe face of denial of this claim by Union Government.

The Act would also impinge of the constituional structureof the Republic of India and would also endanger recognisingsuperiority of the union government, the court had stated. PTICORR UD RC

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