Will quit if observation against me in HC signed verdict: Thomas Chandy

YC activists

Kerala HC rejects minister Thomas Chandy's plea to quash report on land grab charges

He contended that an "unfair" inquiry was conducted by the district collector disregarding principle of natural justice after the "intervention" of the office of the revenue minister.

Congress leaders including former PCC Chief VM Sudheeran and Leader of the Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala have expressed their displeasure over the Madhya Pradesh MP's decision to defend Chandy, an NCP nominee in the CPI (M)-led LDF government.

The NCP state leadership had left it to the national leadership to take a call on Chandy's continuance as minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF cabinet.

The division bench of the court of Justice P.N. Ravindran and Justice Devan Ramachandran came down heavily on Chandy and observed that it was very odd what a state Minister has filed a petition against the state government "which questions the failure of the collective responsibility of the cabinet". Asked if Mr Chandy would quit if the chief minister demands his resignation, Master sought to downplay it, saying "obviously a minister will have to do so if the chief minister makes such a demand".

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The probe had found that a lake-side resort run by Chandy in a pristine location in Alappuzha district may have potentially violated environmental laws and encroached upon government land, among other illegalities, while building an approach road and reclaiming a portion of the lake for setting up a parking lot.

"Never before has the court made an observation that the cabinet has lost its collective responsibility". He would have talks with CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also.

The court cited Article 164 (2) of the Constitution, which stipulates that the council of ministers is collectively responsible, to say that a minister is expected to support the government in public even if he/she does not privately agree with its decision.

There are reports that Chandy may move the Supreme Court against the HC judgement.

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He then miscounted it and began to get frustrated and apologized to both the clerk and the customer waiting behind him. After the man left , the next customer, who posted the story on Facebook , thanked the cashier for being so patient.

NCP state president T P Peethambaran Master, however, did not disclose to the media the decisions arrived at the executive.

The Congress party in Kerala was put in an embarrassing spot after the party's senior Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha, a former Additional Solicitor General of India, appeared as counsel for Chandy.

Speaking to the media later, Tankha said they are studying the verdict and will decide on what needs to be done.

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