Raj: Controversial ordinance sent to Assembly select comm

RSTV Bureau
Ajmer: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at an event in Ajmer.  Photo - PTI

Ajmer: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at an event in Ajmer.
Photo – PTI

Facing criticism from various quarters, the Rajasthan government has now referred a controversial bill, which seeks to protect public servants and judges from prosecution without its prior sanction, to a select committee of the Assembly.

Amid an uproar from the opposition Congress, the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill was tabled in the Assembly by Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria on Monday to replace an ordinance promulgated on September 7.

At the beginning of the Question Hour today, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore informed the House that Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had held a meeting of ministers last night to discuss the bill and that the home minister would apprise the House of the development.

The home minister said that prior approval of the President was sought before introducing the ordinance in September.

Protesting against the government, independent MLA Manik Chand Surana had yesterday raised the point that no approval of the President was attached with the bill.

Jaipur: Rajsthan Congress Chief Sachin Pilot along with party workers during their protest against the tabling of Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017, in the State Assembly, in Jaipur, Oct 23, 2017.  Photo - PTI

Jaipur: Rajsthan Congress Chief Sachin Pilot along with party workers during their protest against the tabling of Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017, in the State Assembly, in Jaipur, Oct 23, 2017.
Photo – PTI

As the opposition MLAs rushed into the Well of the House demanding withdrawal of the bill, Kataria said the government would consider the suggestions put forward by the members. He then moved a proposal to refer it to the select committee. The proposal was passed by the Assembly.

The select committee has been asked to submit its report in the next session.

The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state from being investigated for on-duty action, without its prior sanction.

It also bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is given by the government.

The move has been severely criticised by the opposition Congress and National People’s Party (NPP) as well as BJP’s own lawmaker Ghanshyam Tiwari. The Editors Guild of India too opposed the “harmful ordinance” and demanded its withdrawal.

(With inputs from PTI)