High Court issues contempt rule to Manna
Singur remark Minister told to appear before Division Bench on December 18.
The Calcutta High Court today issued suo motu contempt rule against Minister of state for Agriculture Becharam Manna for his for his remarks accusing the judges, who struck down the Singur land reclamation law, of being loyal to the CPM and Tata Motors.
The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Pratap Kumar Roy and Justice Subal Baidya directed Manna to appear before the court on December 18 to explain his stand as to why he should not be prosecuted by the court.
Advocates Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharjee and Md Shamim moved the plea that the High Court should draw suo motu contempt proceedings against Manna, who "deliberately attacked the judiciary" at a meeting in Singur on Sunday. Both placed media reports before the bench. After going through the reports, the judges remarked that prima-facie there was material to start contempt proceedings against Manna.
On Sunday, Manna had reportedly said that the CPM had joined hands with the Tatas to get a favourable verdict, by a favourable judge, in the Singur case. Bhattacharjee argued that this kind of remark was direct interference in the administration of justice and an intentional attempt to scandalise the judiciary.
The bench also asked the media houses to file affidavits with material collected by their journalists on the event where Manna had made such remarks.
Manna refused to comment on the contempt rule saying he has been asked not to say anything.
More trouble awaits in Assembly
A breach of privilege motion against Manna will be brought in the Assembly during the winter session beginning December 7. "We have received a privilege notice from CPM which will be placed in the House on December 10," said Speaker Biman Banerjee.