DIVAKARAN Vs. DY DIRECTOR OF FISHERIES
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
DY. DIRECTOR OF FISHERIES
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(1.) In this writ petition, the petitioner, styling himself as a convener of a fishermen's Association has asked for a writ of mandamus to command the 1st and 2nd respondents to remove all the unlicensed fishing stakes now being operated by respondents 3 to 36 in and around the area of the Puthenpadu Oonnies of the petitioner and his sangham in the Puramboke river in Sy. No. 845 in the Mulavukadu village, Kanayannur taluk, also for writ of prohibition for restraining respondents 3 to 36, private individuals, from conducting unauthorised fishing operations by means of unlicensed stake nets. His contention is that in the particular locality, the members of the Vala Community of the place have got the right of fishing which could not in any way be obstructed or interfered with by others. Their stakes are licensed in accordance with the provisions of the Travancore Cochin Fisheries Act and the Rules framed thereunder. The complaint is that in spite of repeated representations the authorities concerned are not taking any steps to prevent unauthorised fishing operations conducted by persons coming from outside like respondents 3 to 36 who have not obtained any license to put up fishing stake nets in the area.
(2.) In the counter affidavit filed by the 1st respondent, the Deputy Director of Fisheries, it is admitted that unauthorised stakes are being planted in the area. It is stated that though unauthorised stakes are being removed, planting of such stakes in various canals in the district are being resorted to in an organised manner with the active support of various political parties. The removal of stakes could be done only with the active support of local fishermen which involves considerable expenses. The local fishermen, it is said show reluctance to attend to the work on daily wages basis as they apprehend clashes with the rival groups indulging in unauthorised fishing. The 1st respondent, it is said has asked for special funds, which request is now pending with the Government. It is also submitted that respondents one and two are taking expeditious steps as they are capable of for removal of unauthorised stakes.
(3.) It is rather unfortunate that respondents 1 and 2 are feeling a sort of helplessness in the matter of removal of the unauthorised stakes. No doubt in the circumstances it may not be their fault. They should impress upon the higher authorities the urgent necessity for funds and get them, if paucity of funds stands in their way of getting enforced the law. Therefore, I would direct respondents 1 and 2 to remove the unlicensed fishing stakes as expeditiously as possible. This will not stand in the way of issuance of fresh licences in accordance with law.;
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