Orissa Assembly stalemate enters 5th day

The trouble began in the Zero Hour after Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat told the Leader of the Opposition and Congress member Bhupinder Singh that the privilege notice was still under examination.

Updated: Nov 27, 2010, 17:42 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: The Orissa Assembly was adjourned after Opposition Congress members shouted slogans and stalled proceedings for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday, demanding to know the fate of the privilege motion against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The trouble began in the Zero Hour after Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat told the Leader of the Opposition and Congress member Bhupinder Singh that the privilege notice was still under examination.

Annoyed at this, Congress MLAs rushed to the well and shouted anti-government slogans with some of them trying to climb on the speaker`s podium.

Amat then announced adjournment of the House.

The Opposition members were agitated over the Chief Minister claiming that no illegality was committed in acquiring land for the Rs 15,000 crore Vedanta University project in Puri after the Orissa High Court quashed land acquisition proceedings and ordered return of the land.

The High Court in its November 16 verdict stated that the land acquisition process by the state government for a private limited company was not legal.

Patnaik had claimed on November 25 that government had not issued an ordinance for land acquisition, which was mentioned in the High Court judgement and also said it had not taken certain issues into consideration.

The Chief Minister had claimed that the acquisition was not made under Section 40 (1) (a) of the Land Acquisition Act, but under Section 40 (1) (aa) or 40 (1) (b) for a public purpose.

He had also indicated that the state government might challenge the Orissa High Court verdict.

Raising the issue today, Singh alleged that the Chief Minister had violated constitutional norms by making a specific remark against the high court verdict while replying to an adjournment motion on November 25.

"Nobody including the chief minister or any institution like the Assembly has the right to make remarks against the court judgement," he said, though it can move a higher court against the verdict.

"We had simply asked the chief minister to clarify what action has been taken against the company following the high court judgement," he said.

The Opposition had wanted to know whether a criminal case was being framed against Vedanta which gave a document claiming to be a public limited company based on which the state government allowed the land acquisition for the varsity.

The Opposition has held that Patnaik`s statement was contradictory about the developer of the university, the Anil Agarwal Foundation`s change of status from a private limited company to a public limited one.

It has alleged that the date mentioned by the Chief Minister in his statement was misleading in the face of the High Court judgement and therefore it had not only invited contempt of the house, but also amounted to contempt of court.

On behalf of Patnaik, who was not present in the House, Parliamentary Affairs minister Raghunath Mohanty said, "The Chief Minister in his reply had not given any adverse remark against the High Court nor disrespected the judges. The Opposition is trying to make an issue out of nothing."

PTI