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Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had yesterday introduced the bill in the state Assembly that seeks to enhance the punishment for assaulting public servants to five years' jail term from the existing three years.
During a discussion on the bill in the Assembly today, BJP legislator Ashish Shelar objected to making an offence like causing hurt and assault or use of criminal force (under section 352 of the Indian Penal Code) punishable with five years imprisonment (from the existing three years) and making it cognisable and non-bailable.
"Fortunately or unfortunately, opposition members are not present in the House. All of us are elected because we lead agitations highlighting the issues concerning common man. As per the provisions of this bill, even if we verbally argue with a government official, we can be booked under provision of this amendment. We can get bail only in the sessions court," he said.
Shelar said the motive behind bringing the bill is that nearly 17,682 cases in connection with deterring public servant from discharge of his duty, were registered between 2011 and 2016. "If that is so, between 2012 and 2016, there have been attacks on 337 journalists and 52 media houses," he said.
The BJP leader sought to know what steps had been taken to curb the growing incidents of crimes like murder and theft against common citizens and whether punishment for these criminal acts been enhanced.
"We are elected by the people and they have the powers to question us if their work is not done. Public servants don't treat common citizens well and that is the reason why they face citizens wrath," he said.
He said the amendment bill should ensure that the rights of the common man are upheld and demanded that the bill be sent to a joint select committee of both the Houses to plug its loopholes.
Parliamentary Affairs minister Girish Bapat said a debate on the issue would resume today after Fadnavis returns from an official engagement in Bhiwandi.