Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan on Tuesday brought a privilege motion notice against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his reported announcement to reduce VAT on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to 5 per cent for international flights while inaugurating the new terminal of the Biju Patnaik airport on March 5 without taking the Assembly into confidence.
Speaker Pradip Amat said that he has received the notice and would examine it.
Alleging that the Chief Minister has shown disrespect to the House by not informing about the decision even though the Budget session is on, Harichandan demanded that the Speaker should direct him to give a statement.
Harichandan said the Budget, which was placed in the House by Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya, had no mention of such a decision. Besides, neither the Chief Minister nor the Finance Minister has announced anything in the House after placing the Budget, he said.
Stating that Naveen has completed 13 years as Chief Minister, Harichandan alleged that he does not have any respect for parliamentary democracy. He does not even reply to questions raised by members in the House relating to his departments, Harichandan added.
According to parliamentary practice, the Chief Minister should have informed the House at the earliest opportunity about the decision to slash VAT on ATF. However, he has not done so, Harichandan said and demanded that the Speaker should give a ruling on this.
The Congress chief whip said that the Speaker should also listen to those (if they are members of the House) against whom privilege notices are given before announcing his decision. "But you always announce your decision without listening to the ministers or the Chief Minister," he said.
Harichandan also demanded that the number of privilege notices received by the Speaker's office since 2009 and the decision taken on those should also be informed to the members.
Several ruling party members, including Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kalpataru Das, however, came to the defence of the Chief Minister.
"The Chief Minister had said the State Government will consider to reduce VAT on ATF for international flights," the Minister said and added that he did not announce any policy decision.
Ranendra Pratap Swain (BJD) alleged that though the Centre hiked petrol prices twice while Parliament was in session, the Prime Minister did not inform the House before hand.
His party colleague Ashok Panda also said the Chief Minister had not made any announcement.