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Rajasthan Govt Defends Ordinance Shielding Judges and Babus from Probe, Media Glare

Jaipur: Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria has defended the government's decision to pass an ordinance which seeks to protect both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state from being investigated for on-duty action without its prior sanction.

“People keep putting out false allegations against public servants. Even if it is a completely baseless allegation, the harm would have been done. Therefore, we have put some restrictions but if the truth in the claims can be verified after a limited period of 180 days, which is stipulated in the Bill, action would be taken," said Kataria.

Reacting to the order, Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot said, “We are shocked by the way that the government is trying to institutionalise corruption. They are trying to safeguard the interests of the corrupt. You can't report an alleged scam unless you get the government's nod. This shows that they are not ready to stand against corruption, in fact, they support it. We will protest in the assembly and in the streets."

The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, promulgated on September 7, also seeks to bar the media from reporting on accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is obtained.

“No magistrate shall order an investigation nor will any investigation be conducted against a person, who is or was a judge or a magistrate or a public servant," reads the ordinance which provides 180 days immunity to the officers.

If there is no decision on the sanction request post the stipulated time period, it will automatically mean that sanction has been granted.

The ordinance amends the Criminal Code of Procedure, 1973 and also seeks curb on publishing and printing or publicizing in any case the name, address, photograph, family details of the public servants.

Violating the clause would call for two years imprisonment.

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