The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Rajasthan government on Tuesday sent the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance to a select committee after it faced protests against the controversial legislation from the Congress and two of its own MLAs, ANI reported. The bill, which was tabled on Monday, proposes to shield both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants from being investigated for on-duty action without its prior sanction.
While information about the Select Committee’s composition is yet to be released, the panel normally has members from the ruling party as well as the Opposition, the Hindustan Times reported. The decision to refer the bill to the committee was taken at a meeting on Monday night.
The bill also proposes to ban the media from naming the public servant till the government allows a case to be investigated. Journalists held a protest march to the Rajasthan Assembly against the law. The Editors Guild of India and Broadcast Editors’ Association asked the state to “withdraw the harmful ordinance”.
A petition has challenged the Ordinance in the Rajasthan High Court, the Hindustan Times had reported.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s administration, however, had refuted allegations about giving public servants unfair immunity and defended the bill, calling it a “perfect and balanced law”. “The rights of the media have been protected and so have the rights of individuals,” Minister of State for Law and Justice PP Chaudhar was quoted as saying by ANI. “There is a need for this law at a time like this.”