Amid the Opposition protests led by the Congress party, the Rajasthan government Monday tabled Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill in the assembly. The House was later adjourned for the day.
The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017 amends the Criminal Code of Procedure, 1973 and also bars the media from naming the public servant till the Rajasthan government allows the case to be investigated.
The Bill by the Vasundhara Raje government seeks to protect both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants from investigation for on-duty action without the state government’s prior sanction
Meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Rajasthan High Court challenging the validity of the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance which was earlier promulgated by the Rajasthan government. Senior Lawyer AK Jain filed the plea, saying the ordinance was a ‘licence to commit crime, and that it was arbitrary and malafide’.
Late Sunday night, the state government said in a release that there was no provision in the ordinance to protect corrupt officials.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday hit out at Raje, reminding the chief minister that the year was “2017, not 1817”. “Madam Chief Minister, with all humility we are in the 21st century. It’s 2017, not 1817,” Gandhi tweeted.
The Editor’s Guild expressed ‘deep concern’ over the ordinance promulgated by the Rajasthan government.
“(It) was ostensibly done to protect the judiciary and the bureaucracy against false FIRs. But in reality it is a pernicious instrument to harass the media, hide wrongful acts by government servants and drastically curb the freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution of India. The Editors Guild wants the Rajasthan Government to immediately withdraw the ordinance and desist from making it into law,” read a statement signed by Guild president Raj Chengappa, general secretary Prakash Dubey and treasurer Kalyani Shankar.