Thomas Chandy to move SC against HC order

Mr. Vijayan has received flak for his alleged kid-glove treatment of Chandy despite Alappuzha district collector submitting a report to the government confirming that the minister illegally reclaimed revenue land to construct an approach road and a parking lot for the resort owned by him.

The opposition Congress' agitation against Chandy lost some steam after its own Rajya Sabha MP and lawyer Vivek Tankha appeared for the minister in the high court.

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.

"It's a classic case for disqualification".

Kochi: Transport Minister and NCP leader Thomas Chandy said he would resign if Chief Minister asks him to step down.

A division bench of judges P N Ravindran and Devan Ramachandran rejected Chandy's writ petition in this connection and observed that the minister's move was in conflict with the collective responsibility entrusted with the Cabinet.

The bench pointed out the incongruity in a minister moving the court against the order of an official who represents the government he himself is part of. Pinarayi and Kodiyeri held discussions on Tuesday as call for Chandy's resignation got louder.

In Kochi, the NCP state executive discussed the matter and chose to inform the national leadership about its decision on the matter. "We can not disclose our decision to media", he told reporters. "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. "It would be appropriate for Thomas Chandy to fight this issue legally as a common citizen".

Mr Chandy is the Nationalist Congress Party nominee in the LDF ministry. "Appropriate decision will be taken at the right time", he said.

Sources said Chandy would meet chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and ahead of the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Two others had to step down soon after they were accused of misconduct. Jayarajan was a leader of Vijayan's Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Saseendran was a leader of NCP.

Vanessa Coleman