Rajasthan’s gag Ordinance which sought to shield judges, magistrates and public servants from investigation and which was promulgated by Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh in September, lapsed on Monday.
The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, was promulgated on September 6 and its notification was issued on September 7. The state government then tabled a Bill, to replace the Ordinance, on the first day of the ninth session of 14th state Assembly on October 23.
As per rules, if the Assembly fails to pass the Bill, the Ordinance automatically lapses after six weeks from the date of being tabled as a Bill. Hence, the Bill completed six weeks, or 42 days, on December 3, and hence it lapsed.
In the Assembly, following uproar, the government referred the Bill to a Select Committee on October 24, a day after it was tabled. The Committee is led Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria and includes BJP MLAs, apart from some senior MLAs such as Congress’s Pradhyumn Singh, Independent MLA Manik Chand Surana, and National People’s Party MLA Kirodi Lal Meena.
The Committee has to submit its report before the Assembly whenever it is convened next, likely for budget session in February.
While sending the Bill to Select Committee, senior cabinet minister Rajendra Rathore said that although the Ordinance may be in effect for six weeks, “the government’s desire will be to not act upon it.” But lawyers have countered this claim.