Beleaguered Kerala minister Thomas Chandy on Tuesday said he would quit if the observation against him is in the signed verdict of the high court on his petition against the Alappuzha district collector’s report on alleged encroachments.
He was reacting to queries on the Kerala High Court’s order on Tuesday, dismissing his petition challenging the collector’s report on alleged encroachments by a company in which he has a stake. “Let me get the signed verdict. If there is an observation against me in the verdict, no doubt, I will quit,” he said to a query on the growing demand for his resignation.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said an ‘appropriate decision’ would be taken at the right time after examining the high court order and the NCP’s decision. Chandy is the Nationalist Congress Party nominee in the LDF ministry. The NCP executive meet in Kochi on Tuesday discussed the matter and decided to inform the national leadership about its decision on it.
Also read | Who is Thomas Chandy?
A division bench of the high court, comprising justices P N Raveendran and Devan Ramachandran held that a minister cannot file a petition against his own government, which had ordered the district collector to look into the matter and submit a report. There was a violation of the collective cabinet responsibility by the minister, the court held. “It shows that you have no trust in your own government and chief minister,” the bench said, observing that it was “extremely improper” for a minister to file a petition against his own government.
Chandy claimed that the Supreme Court has held that there is no connection between the observations being made in an open court and a signed verdict. The three-time MLA from Kuttanad had joined the Pinarayi cabinet in April after party nominee A K Saseendran resigned after a sleaze audio with a woman went viral.
The businessman-turned politician has been under attack for the past one month from the opposition Congress-led UDF and the BJP over charges that a luxury resort at Kuttanad in Alapuzha district, owned by him, had allegedly encroached backwaters and violated land rules. Alappuzha District Collector T V Anupama had recently submitted a report to the government, stating there was large scale violations of Kerala land conservation act and Conservation of Paddy land and wetland act. Challenging this, the minister had moved the high court, which today dismissed his petition.