Special Correspondent

House expresses reservations about arrest warrants against Minister, MLA

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition members shouted slogans in the Kerala Assembly on Tuesday protesting against Speaker K. Radhakrishnan allowing voting on a resolution expressing the House's reservations over a court issuing arrest warrants against Electricity Minister A.K. Balan and Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA M. Chandran.

They later squatted on the steps of the Assembly complex and continued shouting slogans against the "Government's insistence in dragging the entire legislature into an unhealthy confrontation with the judiciary."

The Ottappalam First Class Judicial Court's decision to issue arrest warrants against the Minister and the MLA created uproar twice in the Assembly on Tuesday. The first, leading to a walkout, was during the zero hour when the Speaker disallowed permission to Congress MLA V.D. Satheeshan to move an adjournment motion to discuss the propriety of Mr. Balan continuing as a Minister.

Opposing the adjournment motion, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said the verdict against Mr. Balan and Mr. Chandran had come in a case relating to an agitation for a public cause [rail blockade by the Democratic Youth Federation of India] and not one involving corruption. He said they would go in appeal against the First Class Judicial Magistrate's verdict.

At this point, Law Minister M. Vijayakumar said that, but for the political motives behind the adjournment motion, it should be considered an "excellence one."

The Opposition if it was indeed an "excellent adjournment motion," the House business should be adjourned for the day to take up a discussion on the propriety of Mr. Balan continuing as the Minister. Some members of the ruling front and the Opposition almost came to blows, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for nearly two hours.

When the House reassembled, the Speaker, after expressing his unhappiness over the incident, rejected permission to move the adjournment motion, leading to the Opposition walkout.