Raje Government Buries “Gag” Law
"The government was unable to proceed with much-criticised "Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017" which was termed a "black law" and a "gag" order"
February 20, 2018
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday told the assembly that the government was not proceeding with much-criticised "Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017" which was termed a "black law" and a "gag" order.
The bill was tabled in last Assembly session in October to replace an ordinance promulgated on September 7. Under it, a prior sanction from an authority was required before making an investigation into an offence committed by a public officia. As the government faced widespread criticism, the bill was referred to a select committee of the house.
"We have allowed the ordinance to lapse. As the act didn't come into force, therefore any talk of a 'black law' is misplaced," he said, adding that the government is withdrawing it.
The decision has been welcomed by all sections of the society. Congress' state unit President Sachin Pilot, who had challenged the measure in the high court, welcomed the announcement.
Akhil Rajasthan Rajya Karamachari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti co-convener Gajendra Singh Rathore also welcomed the development, terming it a victory of people, democracy and media.
The local media has been extensively reporting on the issues and has welcomed the decision unanimously .
Talking on the issue the General Secretary of NFIW (National Federation for Indian Women) Rajasthan Nisha Siddhu said “I feel this is a victory of people’s movement and people’s struggle that now the government is backing up from its decision , to introduce the “black law” . People across the spectrum whether it be political parties , activist groups or the media ,every one had stood up against the bill and were constantly struggling against it . Only because of this pressure the government has withdrawn the bill or else the government was hell bound to enforce it .”
The vice president of AIDWA (All India Democratic Women’s Association ) Rajasthan Sumitra Chopra also responded in a similar tone on the issue , she said “The law which the government was trying to enforce was a formula to shield the corrupt government official . The government of Rajasthan was trying to bring about changes in section 228 of the Indian Penal Code , through which they were trying to criminalize any media reporting or court case against any corrupt government official without the Governments permission . Against this local media specifically Rajasthan Patrika ran a campaign of not covering any news related to the state government and specially the Chief Minister . Apart from this all opposition parties and human rights groups were also struggling against it ”
This step of the government should also be seen in context of the upcoming Assembly elections which are going to be held this year, specially when the BJP is being seen on the back foot in the state . This was evident recently when the BJP had to face huge defeats in the By elections which were held in Ajmer, Alwar and Mandalgarh seats .
First published in Newsclick.
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