HC declines to direct Centre to enforce fishing rights

Written by: Pti
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Chennai, Feb 24 (PTI) Dismissing a petition to provideprotection to fishermen enjoying fishing rights in historicwaters between India and Sri Lanka as guaranteed in the 1974agreement between the two nations, the Madras High Court todaydeclined to direct the Centre to enforce these rights.

The First Bench, compromising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal andJustice T S Sivagnanam also said the issue involves thebilateral relationship between two neighbouring countries,"which cannot be gone into by this Court in a writ petitionunder Article 226 of the Constitution of India."

Last week L T A Peter Rayan, President of Fisherman Carehad filed two petitions - the first seeking a direction to theCentre to give adequate protection to fishermen of Tamil Nadu,who enjoy traditional fishing rights as per 1974 agreement.

The second sought a direction to the Centre to constitutea committee under chairmanship of a High Court Judge toenquire into ''negligence'' and ''failure'' of Coast Guard atMandapam to prevent alleged human rights violations by SriLankan Navy against Tamil Nadu fishermen since 1983 and aconsequent direction to assess loss of life and property formaking recommendation to the Government to rehabilitate thefamilies.

The bench observed that the petition, if granted "wouldamount to issuance of a direction to persons or organisations,who are situated outside the jurisdiction of this court."

Citing Article 226, the judges said it implied they mustbe amenable to the jurisdiction of the court, either byresidence or location within those territories.

The bench pointed out that petitioner''s senior counsel had''very fairly'' admitted that his client could not seek forissuance of a writ to take action against the Sri Lankan Navy.

In view of the matter, the bench declined to accede to theprayer sought for by the petitioner.

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