The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday issued a contempt of court notice against newly-appointed Trinamool Congress Minister Becharam Manna.
The notice was issued on the remark made by Manna at a public meeting on December 2 on the issue of return of land to unwilling farmers in Singur. The court also directed the Minister of State for Agriculture to be present in court on December 18 and justify his statements.
Senior advocate of the Calcutta High Court Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya produced newspaper reports and TV channel clippings to prove Manna’s comments and demanded action against him.
“If law doesn’t side with us, we’ll show how to create new ones,” Manna had said in the public meeting. Manna had also said that the CPM had worked with Tata Motors to get a favourable judgment from the Calcutta High Court.
The case was heard before a Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Pratap Kumar Roy and Justice Subol Baidya.
In 2007, the erstwhile Left Front government had given 997 acres of land on lease to Tata Motors for its Nano car project. In the face of increasing anti-land acquisition agitations, the Nano project had rolled out of West Bengal.
Soon after the TMC came to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had promised to return land to farmers who had unwillingly parted with it. The TMC-led state government had passed the Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011 to vest the land leased out to Tata Motors. However, in June this year a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court had termed the Act unconstitutional and void, prompting the state government to approach the Supreme Court. The apex court stayed the Calcutta High Court order in August.
Meanwhile, the CPM has also issued a breach of privilege motion in the Assembly against Manna for disrespecting the judiciary. The privilege motion will be heard in the West Bengal Assembly on December 10.
Mamata had also stated in Singur on November 30 that she was expecting a favourable verdict from the Supreme Court.