Civil rights group PUCL today condemned the Rajasthan government's ordinance protecting judges and bureaucrats from probe without its prior sanction and has demanded that it be repealed.
The Vasundhara Raje government had passed an ordinance which seeks to protect both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in Rajasthan from being investigated for on-duty action without its prior sanction.
The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, promulgated on September 7, also sought to bar the media from reporting on accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe was obtained.
State president of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Kavita Srivastava said the amendments and provisos were to "gag the media" and "clipping" the powers of the magistrate to order an investigation, investigate or take cognisance of complaints against public servants including judges and magistrates.
"We will go to the high court tomorrow against the government's move. The ordinance should be repealed," she said.
"It is alarming that the intention is to prevent at the very threshold any possibility of an investigation being ordered by a magistrate when clinching evidence is prima facie brought before the court," Srivastava said.
The ordinance, which provides 180 days immunity to the officers, reads, "No magistrate shall order an investigation nor will any investigation be conducted against a person, who is or was a judge or a magistrate or a public servant."
If there is no decision on the sanction request post the stipulated time period, it will automatically mean that sanction has been granted.
The ordinance amends the Criminal Code of Procedure, 1973 and also seeks curb on publishing and printing or publicising in any case the name, address, photograph, family details of the public servants.
Violating the clause would call for two years imprisonment.