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Rajasthan HC issues notice to Centre, state on immunity ordinance

Jaipur: The Rajasthan High Court on Friday issued notice to the central and state governments on an ordinance that aims to protect public servants from being probed for on-duty action without prior government sanction.
The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017 was promulgated in September.
"A division bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Deepak Maheshwari issued notice and asked for responses by November 27, the next date of hearing," A.K. Jain, advocate for Bhagwat Gour, one of the petitioners said.
The court also clubbed all seven writ petitions and Public Interest Litigations (PILs), including the plea filed by Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot, against the ordinance.
The main contention of almost all petitions is the ordinance violates Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution,
Article 14 provides for equality before law, while Article 19 deals with protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech.
The Rajasthan government on Tuesday referred to a Select Committee the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill.
As per rules, though the bill may have gone to the select committee, the ordinance is still implementable for six weeks, till December 5.
On Monday, ignoring criticism from various quarters, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Vasundhara Raje tabled the bill in the Rajasthan assembly.
The bill seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state from being investigated for on-duty action, without prior sanction.
It also bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is given by the government.
The state government, through the ordinance, made amendments in the Criminal Procedure code, 1973, and Indian Penal Code, 1980, in September.

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