HC rejects plea by Ker minister; pulls him up for moving court

Thomas Chandy

In a setback to the Pinarayi Vijayan government, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by state Transport Minister Thomas Chandy for quashing the Alappuzha district collector's report which alleged large-scale land grab by him to build a plush resort.

The court also observed that the minister has to face the law of land like a common citizen.

"Let me get the signed verdict". He maintained that the court did not term Chandy guilty of encroachment.

State BJP general secretary M.T. Ramesh said it's a shame that the court has come down heavily and questioned the very essence of Vijayan's governance.

It is based on the principle of collective responsibility that the entire cabinet resigns even if a no-confidence motion is passed against a single minister, the court pointed out.

Challenging this, the minister had moved the high court, which today dismissed his petition.

According to reports in the media, it is in this context that the minister is mulling over moving the supreme court. Thus, the minister's petition is in opposition to the public interest of the cabinet system, the court noted.

Earlier in the day, Thomas Chandy's counsel informed the court that he does not wish to withdraw the petition.

The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action.

A division bench of the high court, comprising justices P N Raveendran and Devan Ramachandran held that a minister can not file a petition against his own government, which had ordered the district collector to look into the matter and submit a report. The bench equated such a petition to a high court judge challenging the decision of the full court.

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. "Vijayan appears to have stumbled before the "cash rich" Chandy and Vijayan is also now an accused like Chandy as he has failed to ask for his resignation", said Sudheeran.

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