Rajasthan: Amidst an uproar by members of the opposition, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday (January 19), announced withdrawing the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2017 that triggered widespread accusations against the ruling BJP government of making an attempt to shield politicians and judges from complaints and attempting to allegedly gag the media.
Doing away with the bill that proposed to bar courts from taking up complaints against ministers, judges, and state’s officials without government sanction, Raje said in the House, “Jis Bill ko humne Select Committee ko refer kiya, jis Ordinance ko lapse hone diya, aaj jo woh kanoon he nahi, toh hum kya waapas len. Phir bhi hum ise wapas le rahe hain (We sent the Bill to the Select Committee, we let the ordinance lapse and today it is not law, what should we withdraw? But we are still withdrawing it).
The bill that was tabled on October 23, 2017, was referred to the Select Committee (on October 24) in the assembly’s last session following an uproar by the Congress. Notably, the provisions of the withdrawn Bill barred the media from reporting on accusations of such wrongdoings till the government sanctions a probe. The Select Committee, which was supposed to submit its report on February 5, was given an extension to come up with so.
Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot seemed satisfied following the withdrawal of the Bill. Speaking to The Indian Express, he said that he was happy that the Bill has been withdrawn. Although he said that the Bill has damaged the state’s reputation and displayed the BJP government’s ‘haughtiness’. He also asked CM Raje to answer as to how and why did such a Bill come about.
Meanwhile, Raje, in her speech, attacked the Congress for the Emergency imposed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi and called it a ‘black chapter’ of the Indian history.