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Rajasthan refers controversial Bill to select committee

IANS | Jaipur |

Facing flak from different quarters, the Rajasthan government on Tuesday referred to a select committee the controversial Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill aimed to protect public servants from being investigated for on-duty action without prior government sanction.

A motion to this effect was moved by Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Karatia in the state assembly on Tuesday, which was unanimously accepted. The bill, which replaces an ordinance, was tabled in the state assembly on Monday amid opposition protest.

“The select committee will give its report by the start of the next assembly session, when the amended or modified bill will be again tabled,” Rajendra Rathore, Parliamentary Affairs Minister, told reporters here.

“It is a big victory for the people and the Congress. It was pressure from the Congress both inside and outside the state assembly because of which the government had to refer the Bill to the select committee,” Archana Sharma, a Congress leader said.

On Monday, ignoring criticism from various quarters, the BJP government headed by Vasundhara Raje tabled the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill in the Rajasthan Assembly.

This bill seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state from being investigated for on-duty action, without 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 bill was introduced by Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria among uproarious scenes as the main opposition Congress walked out from the assembly.

Senior BJP leader Ghanshyam Tiwari also walked out in protest of the bill.

The state government through an ordinance, namely Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, made amendments in Criminal Procedure code, 1973, and Indian Penal Code, 1980, in September this year.

On Monday, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Bill was meant to prevent “motivated complaints.”