Rajasthan ordinance that protects politicians, judges lapses tonight
The ordinance triggered protests as it sought to shield public servants, lawmakers and judges from investigation without the state government ‘s nod.india Updated: Dec 04, 2017 13:26 IST
A controversial Rajasthan ordinance that set off a firestorm of protests as it sought to shield public servants, judges and magistrates from investigation without the sanction of the state government will lapse Monday night.
The criminal law (Rajasthan amendment) ordinance came into effect on September 7 but was not used even once in the 89 days it remained in place, state’s parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore said on Monday.
“The fact that we referred the bill to a select committee means we want to bring in an amended version,” he said.
The ordinance would lapse midnight as it can only remain valid for 42 days after a bill to turn it into a law is tabled in the assembly, home minister Gulab Chand Kataria said.
The criminal laws (Rajasthan amendment) bill, 2017, was introduced on October 23 and was referred to a House select committee.
The government would bring an amended bill in accordance with the recommendations of the committee, Kataria, who heads the panel, said.
The ordinance, which also faces legal challenges, sought to shield public servants, including members of Parliament and assembly, from prosecution for “on-duty action”.
It was mandatory of judicial magistrates to seek the government’s nod before taking note of corruption complaints against former and sitting judges and public servants filed under Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
The ordinance also provided for a two-year jail term for mediapersons who reported such complaints before the government gave its go-ahead.
The government defended the ordinance saying it was introduced to check misuse of CrPC section 156 (3).
Deputy whip Madan Rathore said the select committee would submit its report before the budget session early next year. The committee meets on December 27.
Several people challenged the controversial ordinance in the Rajasthan high court. In Jaipur, a division bench of justice Ajay Rastogi and justice Deepak Maheshwari clubbed seven petitions, including those filed by state Congress president Sachin Pilot and civil society organisations, and sought the state government and the Centre’s reply by November 27.
But the hearing couldn’t be held on that day after justice Maheshwari recused himself from the case.
Two petitions filed with the high court’s Jodhpur bench come up for hearing on Tuesday.