Rajasthan ordinance row: Congress' Sachin Pilot challenges Vasundhare Raje govt's immunity bill in high court

In a bid to continue the protest against Rajasthan government's Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017, state Congress president Sachin Pilot moved the high court against the ordinance, media reports said on Thursday.

Pilot filed a writ petition in the Rajasthan High Court's Jaipur bench. The plea contended that the ordinance, promulgated in September, violates Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 19 (1) (a) (freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution, reported The Hindu.

Rajasthan ordinance row: Congress Sachin Pilot challenges Vasundhare Raje govts immunity bill in high court

File image of Congress leader Sachin Pilot. AFP

He claimed that the BJP government in the state had referred its replacing bill to a select committee of the Assembly only to safeguard its image. "But, the ordinance is still in existence," he added. Pilot said he had urged the court to direct the Vasundhara Raje government to withdraw the ordinance.
"Introducing such an ordinance shows that the government is violating articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution," he added.

The Congress leader also held the state government responsible for the deadlock in the Assembly. "The entire country has criticised the bill, which has provisions to shield the corrupt and violates the rights of the public, media and judiciary," he said.

On Monday, the Congress had opposed the bill when it was tabled in the Rajasthan Assembly.

After the Assembly session was adjourned for the day, Pilot and several party leaders were detained by the Rajasthan police on Monday for taking out a march against the bill.

Pilot had taken to Twitter on Sunday to express that Congress would "vehemently" oppose the bill, both in the state Assembly  and outside.

According to the ordinance, serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state cannot be investigated for on-duty alleged offences without the prior sanction of the Rajasthan government.

In addition, it seeks to bar the media from reporting on accusations till the sanction is obtained and provide a 180-day immunity to the public servants. If no decision on the sanction is taken within this period, then the sanction is deemed to have been granted.

The ordinance amends the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and also puts a curb on publishing and printing the name, address, photograph, family details of the public servants in media reports. Violating the clause would call for up to two years imprisonment, as also a fine.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Oct 26, 2017 21:52:42 IST

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