Kerala HC rejects Thomas Chandy’s plea
Minister’s continuation untenable now
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by Transport Minister Thomas Chandy challenging a report by the Alappuzha Collector on the alleged encroachments by a company in which he has stake.
A Bench of Justices P.N. Raveendran and Devan Ramachandran held that a Minister cannot file a petition against his own government, which had ordered the Collector’s probe.
Following the court’s scathing criticism, the NCP Minister’s continuation has become untenable.
Mr. Chandy left for Thiruvananthapuram later in the evening after being summoned by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ahead of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.
He would offer his explanations to the Chief Minister before the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, TP Peethambaran, party State president, said.
Already under fire from coalition partners for bending over backwards to protect Mr. Chandy and causing severe embarrassment to the government, the NCP State executive, which met here briefly on Tuesday, has now shifted to damage control to ensure no further discomfiture to the government, as a leader put it.
Emotions ran high at the executive meeting in which a vast majority clamoured for the ouster of Mr. Chandy, who did not attend the meeting.
However, the leadership, with whom Mr. Chandy, a businessman, enjoys considerable clout, left the final decision to the party’s central leadership, having “conveyed the majority sentiments.”
Sources indicated that Mr. Chandy is most likely to step down after a meeting with senior leader Praful Patel on November 16 (Thursday). Former minister A.K. Saseendran, whom he replaced in the cabinet, is expected to return as decided earlier.
“Nobody wants to dismay Mr. Chandy. Therefore, his resignation would be treated as honouring an earlier agreement, not as bowing to pressure in the face of the land grab allegations,” a party leader said.
With the woman who lodged a complaint of sexual abuse against Mr Saseendran earlier this year willing to withdraw the case in the High Court, his return to the cabinet has been made easier, the leader said.
But Mr. Saseendran would have to wait, as the P.S. Antony Commission, appointed by the Cabinet to look into the allegation of sexual misconduct against him, has still to submit its report.