The court and a sinking minister

'Tainted' Kerala minister Thomas Chandy resigns

Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy resigns following land encroachment charges

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by beleaguered state minister Thomas Chandy challenging a report by the Alappuzha district collector on alleged encroachments by a company in which he has stake.

Several members of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) have been demanding Chandy's resignation for some time. "Appropriate decision will be taken at the right time", he said. "Otherwise also I will ask the CM about what needs to be done". The NCP executive meet in Kochi on Tuesday discussed the matter and chose to inform the national leadership about its decision on it.

NCP state leadership on Tuesday chose to leave the decision on the demand for Chandy's decision to the party's parliamentary board.

A division bench of judges P N Ravindran and Devan Ramachandran rejected Chandy's writ petition in this connection and observed that the minister's move was in conflict with the collective responsibility entrusted with the Cabinet.

Chandy had petitioned the HC seeking to quash the collector's report, which reportedly confirms the veracity of charges of encroachment on land and backwaters for the construction of a resort owned by him.

The collector should give a hearing to the minister within 15 days, "Justice Raveendran had said".

Mr Vijayan said the LDF had earlier chose to entrust him to take an appropriate decision on the matter after looking into all aspects.

The state unit of NCP has sought the opinion of its national leadership, state president T.P. Peethambaran told reporters.

A bench comprising justices P N Raveendran and Devan Ramachandran held that a minister can not file petition against his own government, which had ordered the district collector to look into the matter and submit a report. Despite the state Congress' attempts to stall Tankha through AICC intervention, he appeared for Chandy on Tuesday, after facing a protest by Youth Congress workers. The leaders of the party maintained high probity in public life. He dismissed the question on why he appeared for a political opponent.

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