KOCHI : In a setback for the Kerala government, the High Court on Wednesday cancelled an order that had enabled it take over 38,000 acres of land belonging to a plantation major in the state.
A division bench cancelled the order of a single bench that had earlier directed the takeover of the plantation land of diversified agri-major Harrison Malayalam Limited (HML), a part of R.P.G Enterprises.
Coming down heavily on the state government, the bench directed it "not to play Robin Hood", as big companies have to exist in the state.
The court also struck down the report by special officer M.G. Rajamanickam on which the earlier judgment was based.
The report had said that foreign companies were holding land by flouting the rules and all treaties and agreements had become null and void with the Indian Independence Act of 1947.
Hence agreements prior to Independence stood cancelled and the ownership of such land should remain with the government.
HML Vice President V. Venugopal, in a statement on Wednesday said: "Being in the business for over a century in the country, the lands held by us are all legitimately held. We have always complied with statutory regulations without any default.
"Through this high court order, all the doubts raised against our company is laid to rest and it will allow us to carry on with our normal business and focus more on growth and development of its estates protecting thousands of workers and their families."