Rajasthan govt tables bill to replace gag ordinance, Oppn calls it ‘kaala kaanoon’
Amid protests by the Congress leaders and two walkouts by BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari, home minister Gulab Chand Kataria tabled The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017 and The Code of Criminal Procedure (Rajasthan Amendment) 2017jaipur Updated: Oct 23, 2017 20:58 IST
Notwithstanding the protests from the Opposition and criticism from several quarters, including some of its own leaders, the Rajasthan government Monday tabled in the Assembly a bill to replace a controversial ordinance that shields politicians, public servants, serving and former judges and magistrates from being investigated without its prior sanction.
The Ordinance has also been challenged in the Rajasthan High Court.
Amid protests by the Congress leaders and two walkouts by BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari, who had expressed opposition to the ordinance, state home minister Gulab Chand Kataria tabled The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017 and The Code of Criminal Procedure (Rajasthan Amendment) 2017 that seeks to replace a September 7 Ordinance introduced by the BJP government in the state.
The Congress MLAs opposed the Bill and staged walk out, whereas senior BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari staged walk out twice, when was denied to raise point of order by Speaker Kailash Meghwal. Calling the bill an undeclared emergency, Independent MLA Manik Chand Surana opposed the Bill.
Soon after the House assembled for the first day of the ninth session of the 14th Assembly, the deputy Leader of the Opposition, Ramesh Meena, raised objection to the bill.
Parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore said the government was ready for discussion but the Opposition needs to take it up as per the House rules.
Meanwhile, Tiwari requested Speaker Kailash Meghwal several times to allow him to raise a point of order. As Speaker ignored his requests, Tiwari walked out of the House. He returned after some time and again requested the Speaker to allow him raise a point of order. He warned of a dharna in the Well of the House if he was not allowed to speak, but the Speaker ignored him following which he staged a second walkout.
Amid uproar, Kataria tabled the bills. Immediately after that, Independent MLA Manik Chand Surana, through a point of order, opposed it, saying there was no prior sanction of the President to the bill which was circulated among the members Sunday night.
He said that prior sanction of the President should be there to amend a central law.
Terming it a “kaala kanoon” (black law), Surana said, “Everyone remembers Emergency for which Congress is blamed. Now the (BJP) government is trying to impose an undeclared Emergency through this kala kanoon. No debate will be allowed (by the Opposition) on the bill unless there is a prior sanction of the President,” he said.
Responding to Surana, the home minister said that the merits and demerits of the bill would be discussed during the debate and that the bill would become a law only after it was passed by the House. He added that Rajasthan was leading in the number of cases registered under CrPC 156 (3).
Addressing newspersons outside the House, Leader of Opposition Rameshwar Dudi said the bills will encourage corruption and affect independence of media. “The Opposition and others including a BJP MLA have objected to the bill. The government should reconsider it,” he said.
Tiwari said the bills were “undemocratic” and “we will not let it pass” in Assembly. “The bill is being brought to safeguard some members of cabinet, chief minister and her office. Even the law department had objected to the bill,” he claimed.
Congress chief whip Govind Singh Dotasara alleged that after four years of corruption, the government had brought in the ordinance to safeguard politicians and officials.
Four more bills were also tabled in the House before the session was adjourned for the day.