Chandy plea in Lake of Despair

High Court Division Bench throws out Thomas Chandy’s petition on the land encroachment issue; 
says he has violated ‘collective responsibility’ of the Cabinet by filing plea against own government

Published: 15th November 2017 01:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2017 07:35 AM   |  A+A-

Thomas Chandy addressing the media outside his residence in Kochi | Express

By Express News Service

KOCHI:  In a major setback to Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed his petition to come clean on the land encroachment issue and held the minister had violated the ‘collective responsibility’ of the Cabinet by filing a petition in the court against his own government. 

The court said the minister had arraigned the state government as the first respondent and named the Chief Secretary of the state and other officers of the Revenue Department as other respondents. The minister had stated in the petition he was a minister of the state Cabinet, that amounted to violation of the collective Cabinet responsibility.  “Have you ever heard of a minister filing a petition against his government?” the court asked. 

Article 164 (2) of the Constitution states the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the state. The Cabinet’s collective responsibility is related to the fact, if a vote of no confidence is passed, the government is responsible collectively, and thus the entire government resigns. The court said the collective responsibility of the Cabinet included Cabinet confidentiality and Cabinet solidarity.

No Cabinet member shall disclose the discussions held in the Cabinet. He shall also not oppose a decision of the Cabinet outside the Cabinet and must defend it in public even if he might have opposed it in the Cabinet meeting. The minister could not act against the decision of the Cabinet. “It shows you have lost faith in your own government and the Chief Minister. It’s a classic case of disqualification,” the court said.
When Chandy’s counsel cited the instance of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee approaching the Supreme Court, the court said she filed the plea against the decision of the Central Government, not her government. Though it was against the Centre, the Supreme Court declined to entertain it.

Pressure on the government, CM
T’Puram: The Left Front, state government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan have come under tremendous pressure in the wake of the High Court’s adverse remarks in the Thomas Chandy row. Top sources in the LDF indicated the Transport Minister, under fire from the High Court, is likely to step down on Wednesday. The capital witnessed hectic parleys after the remarks.

Central leadership will take final call: NCP
Kochi: Amidst the intensifying demand for the resignation of Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, the NCP state executive meet held here on Tuesday concluded without unlocking the political impasse after the HC rejected the minister’s plea challenging the Alappuzha Collector’s report. “We will convey this to our central leadership,” T P Peethambaran Master said. 

Chandy to  meet CM
T’Puram: Thomas Chandy will meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday morning before the Cabinet meet. He will also hold talks with CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

‘Minister has lost trust’
A minister approaching the High Court against his own government is unheard of. It means the minister has lost his trust in the government and the Chief Minister. 

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