Special Correspondent

Furore over resolution on arrest warrant continues

THIRUVANATHAPURAM: The tussle between the treasury and Opposition benches over the arrest warrant against Kerala Power Minister A.K. Balan snowballed into yet another showdown between the two sides in the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday with the Opposition bringing the proceedings to a halt during zero hour as a mark of protest against what it termed `arbitrariness on the part of the Government.'

The Opposition members rushed to the well of the House and kept up a steady sloganeering for almost half an hour after a protracted procedural wrangle forcing Speaker K. Radhakrishnan to rush through the business scheduled for the day, including discussion and adoption of the much-debated Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions (Amendment) Bill, and close the sitting at 10.40 a.m. Earlier, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan were engaged in a verbal duel with Mr. Chandy and Kerala Congress (M) leader K.M. Mani over the Opposition charge that the Government had pushed the resolution against the Ottappalam First Class Judicial Magistrate's arrest warrant against the Power Minister in a grossly arbitrary manner without permitting the Opposition to register its dissent. Mr. Chandy said the Government had triggered an unnecessary conflict with the judiciary by passing the resolution. The Minister had absented from the Magistrate Court on May 26, the day when the arrest warrant was issued and he was sentenced in absentia to two years' imprisonment for his involvement in a `rail roko' agitation in December 2000., on account of poor legal advice