HC notice to WB minister over Singur remarks
Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday issued a contempt notice to West Bengal Minister Becharam Manna for allegedly making derogatory comments against judiciary over its order on disputed land at Singur and summoned him on December 18.
Manna, the Minister of State for Agriculture who was sworn in last month, also faced a privilege notice in the state Assembly.
A division bench of the High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice Pratap Kumar Roy and Justice Subol Baidya, taking note of comments allegedly made by Manna, directed him to appear before the court on December 18.
Senior counsel Bikash Bhattacharya brought Manna's alleged comments, published in newspapers and telecast on TV news channels, to the notice of the court and prayed for issue of suo motu contempt rule against the minister.
Bhattacharya claimed that Manna, during a public meeting to observe 'Singur Divas' on December 2 at Beraberi market in Singur, had made the alleged derogatory comments against the judiciary with regard to an order of the High Court. Singur is the site of the now defunct Tata Motors Nano car plant.
The division bench, after hearing Bhattacharya and going through the documents produced by him, directed that contempt rule be issued against Manna.
A breach of privilege motion against Manna will be placed in the Assembly during the Winter Session beginning from December 7.
"We have received a privilege notice from CPI(M) member Abdur Rezzak Mollah, which will be placed in the House on December 10," Speaker Biman Banerjee said.
Farmers at Singur had agitated during 2006-08 after their land was acquired by the then Left Front government and Manna, a peasant leader from Singur, had played a key role in organising the protests.
The government had acquired 997 acres for setting up of Nano car plant, but the Trinamool Congress demanded that 400 acres be returned to farmers who unwillingly parted with their land.
The Calcutta High Court had struck down the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 under which the West Bengal government had reclaimed 400 acres of land.
The state government had gone on appeal against the order before the Supreme Court, which has stayed the order of the High Court.