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Rajasthan Government Ordinance Seeks To Protect Judges And Bureaucrats From Probes And The Media

Published on 21 October, 2017 at 6:46 pm By

The Vasundhara Raje-led Rajasthan government is all ready with its Bill that seeks to cement an Ordinance promulgated in September banning any type of investigation against “a Judge or a Magistrate or a public servant” without prior sanction for any “act done by them while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of their official duties”.


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Vasundhara Raje government has imposed a ban on probe on government officials and judges without prior sanction. The Indian Express

In what seemingly triggered a nation-wide political turmoil is that even media has been barred from naming the accused or furnishing any detail about him/her till the government gives a green signal on further investigation against the accused.

This new Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, promulgated on September 6 will transform into a Bill after the state’s Assembly session starting next Monday, if majority of MLAs approve of the same.

The Ordinance made additions to sections 156 (3) and 190 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which empower a magistrate to take cognizance of an offence and order an investigation. The sections added by the Ordinance reads:

Provided that, under the aforesaid sub-section, no Magistrate shall order an investigation nor will any investigations be conducted against a person, who is or was a Judge or a Magistrate or a public servant, as defined under any law for the time being in force, in respect of the act done by them while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of their official duties, expect with previous sanction under section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

However, this ordinance also provides an immunity of 180 days or 6 months to the accused officers or judges. If the government fails to give any decision on the sanction request within this stipulated period, it will automatically mean that sanction has been permitted on the case. The Ordinance also seeks to put the violator into imprisonment for two years.


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This Ordinance, with its seemingly bizarre strictures, may provide yet another opportunity to the opposition party – Congress party led by Sachin Pilot – to attack the Rajasthan Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje. It is to be noted that Sachin Pilot has already termed this as a move by the state government to protect corrupt and tainted officials.

Talking about the ordinance, Govind Singh Dotasra, the Congress Deputy Chief in the Rajasthan assembly, said:

“You can’t just gag media; it will publish what has to be published. How can government impose such restrictions? Why such privileges to public servants? There should be transparency and we will oppose this Bill. They have attacked Congress over transparency and now they are going ahead with this.”

A lot of BJP MLAs were not seemingly happy with the ordinance, with the BJP rebel MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari terming it as “an unconstitutional Bill”.

Meanwhile, others too did not seem to be happy with it. Shekhar Gupta likened the BJP regime in Rajasthan to the socialist government of North Korea:

Some found this to be absolutely derogatory and arbitrary:

However, there were few people who were hailing the act. It has been pointed out that the former prime minister Manmohan Singh had himself attempted such changes to the Anti-Corruption Law back in 2013 to protect honest public servants.

Yet Subramanian Swamy wrote on Twitter stating this:


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In the case mentioned by Swamy, a bench of Justices R.M. Lodha, A.K. Patnaik, Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya, Dipak Misra, and Fakkir Mohamed Kalifulla held that requiring approval of the Central Government to conduct any inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed under the PC Act, 1988 against senior employees of Central Government violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

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