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Rajasthan's controversial gag ordinance gets gagged

IANS  |  Jaipur 

The much-hyped and controversial Criminal (Amendment) Ordinance 2017 -- which promulgated to protect public servants against probe into on-duty actions and "gagged" the media, triggering national uproar -- a silent death on Monday.

Senior Cabinet Minister Gulab Chand Kataria confirmed that legally, the ordinance has lapsed. Now its fate will be decided on December 27 when a committee meets to discuss it.

Drafted by the state government on September 6, the ordinance was introduced in the assembly on October 23.

As per the rule book, an ordinance is valid for 42 days after it gets tabled in the assembly, after which it lapses automatically. Going by this, the gag ordinance lapsed on December 4.

"Now, the ball is in the select committee's court. If the committee stops it, it will be dropped, and if the committee considers it to be ok, it will be reintroduced," said Kataria, who heads the select committee.

This committee is expected to submit its report in the first week of the next assembly session.

The announcement for the select committee was made on November 27 and its next meeting is scheduled for December 27.

The ordinance was meant to protect public servants from prosecution for on-duty actions.

The state government, via this ordinance, made it a must for judicial magistrates to seek government approval before taking cognizance against former and sitting judges and public servants on complaints filed under CrPC Section 156(3).

Even media was not spared under this ordinance and there were provisions of jail term of up to two years for journalists publishing or broadcasting such complaints which have not been approved by the government.

However, the government, in its defence, said that the gag ordinance aimed at curbing the misuse of CrPC Section 156(3).

As it was protested against from all corners of the country, the state government had to refer it to the select committee, thereby leading to the silent gagging of the "gag bill".



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 04 2017. 20:02 IST