PIL filed in Rajasthan high court against Raje govt ordinance shielding babus
The petition, filed by advocate AK Jain on behalf of an activist, says the September 7 ordinance violates the right to free speech.india Updated: Oct 23, 2017 12:31 IST
A controversial ordinance shielding on-duty public servants from probe without prior approval was challenged in the Rajasthan high court on Monday.
Advocate AK Jain filed a public interest litigation on behalf of activist Bhagwat Gaur, pleading that the ordinance be held in violation of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
The petition said the ordinance – promulgated on September 7 – violated the right to free speech.
“Public servants have to give details about criminal record even in election affidavits. So how can the government seek to hide their identity and shield them from probe?” Jain asked. “Under the law, the identity of a victim is kept secret not that of the accused,” he added.
The PIL comes on a day the Rajasthan government tabled the controversial bill in the assembly. But the House was adjourned for a day after the opposition Congress walked out protesting against the bill.
Jain said the order was arbitrary and against fair investigation. “The government has extended protection to all public servants against investigation which is violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. Protection should be reasonable it cannot extend to all public servants.”
The petition said the ordinance violates the independence of the judiciary as it takes away the power of a magistrate to order an investigation, while an SHO or SP still has power to register an FIR against any public servant without any sanction from government.
The Rajasthan government is battling mounting outrage over the ordinance that bars courts from taking up private complaints against public servants such as serving and former judges, lawmakers, ministers and officials without the government’s sanction. It also bars the media from naming the accused till the government gives its nod for investigation else they face two years imprisonment and penalty.