Kerala land encroachment case: HC dismisses minister Thomas Chandy's petition
'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. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
The Kerala High Court today 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 a stake.
A bench comprising justices PN 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.
Although Chandy, who holds the transport portfolio, submitted that he had quit the membership from the company's director board when he assumed charge as minister, the court said it has no idea about his position in the firm.
He also stated that he approached the court as an ordinary citizen and not as a minister.
Earlier, the court gave an option to Chandy to withdraw the petition, but he did not do so following which it passed the order.
Opposition Congress and the BJP have demanded Chandy's resignation following allegations of large-scale violation of the Kerala Land Conservation Act and Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act by the tourist resort run by Water World Tourism company at Alappuzha in which he has stake.
In his petition, Chandy said all sorts of "wild and baseless" allegations were being raised against his Water World Tourism Company, targeting him "with the set agenda orchestrated" by his political rivals, interested parties and the media.
The district collector of Alappuzha also fell into their hands, he charged.
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.
During arguments today, counsel for Chandy, a businessman -turned-politician representing the NCP in the cabinet, pressed for expunging any reference to the minister in the report.