The Code of Criminal Procedure (Rajasthan Amendment) bill, 2017 was introduced in the Assembly by state home minister Gulabchand Kataria to replace the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance promulgated last month.
The ordinance, promulgated by Governor Kalyan Singh on September 6, seeks to shield both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in state from being investigated for on-duty action without the government’s nod.
Besides, it also prohibits the media from reporting on the accusation against such a person until the prosecution gets the approval from the sanctioning authority, which may take up to six months.
Making additions to sections 156 (3) and 190 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the Ordinance empower a magistrate to take cognizance of an offence and order an investigation.
Putting forward a strong opposition, Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot vowed to not let the government pass the bill. Pilot and several party members were briefly detained by the police in Jaipur soon after they took out a march against the legislative measure. They were subsequently released.
Describing the ordinance as harmful, the Editors Guild of India urged the Rajasthan government to withdraw the ordinance. The body also called it a “pernicious instrument” to harass the media.
A BJP rebel MLA, Ghanshyam Tiwari, also opposed the bill. “This is a kala kanoon (black law) and I am against it,” Tiwari told reporters and described it as “undemocratic and unconstitutional”.
Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy also joined the chorus of those opposing the bill and urged the Vasundhra Raje government to take back her “ill-fated gag bill”. “It is a sterile exercise and receive a rap from SC when the apex court strikes it down,” Swamy wrote on Twitter.
Under-fire from several quarters over the introduction of a controversial bill in the legislative assembly, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday evening summoned ministers at her residence, asking them to “reconsider” the Ordinance says bjp party sources.