Kochi: High Court declared as 'illegal' the demolition of several structures by the LDF government in 2007 in Munnar. Allowing a batch of petitions by affected parties, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A M Shaffique directed the government to give back possession of resumed land to the respective owners. The drive to evict encroachers from government lands, especially in the hilly Munnar, was launched by V S Achuthanandan in May, 2007, when he was the Chief Minister. About 11,350 acres of encroached land was said to have been recovered and nearly 100 "illegal" buildings, including high-end resorts, were razed to the ground within a month of setting up of a three-member task force picked by Achuthanandan himself for the drive. Challenging the government action, those who were evicted from the land and whose buildings were demolished, approached the High Court. Allowing the petitions, the court said when land in possession of a person is resumed by government, it can be done only by observing due process of law. The Idukki District Collector had no power to exercise any power under the Cardamom Rules to take action. Jurisdiction exercised by the Collector was 'without authority of law'. The court also directed return of the land belonging to various resorts and hotels.