Raje govt tables bill to replace criminal laws ordinance amid oppn uproar

Amid an uproar from the opposition Congress, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria on Monday tabled in the Assembly a bill to replace its ordinance to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants from being investigated without its prior sanction.

The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017, seeks to replace the September 7 ordinance, which drew widespread criticism from various quarters.

The opposition Congress strongly opposed the bill and staged a walkout. BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari, who had expressed opposition to the ordinance, walked out of the Assembly twice when he was not allowed by the Speaker to raise a point of order.

The 9th session of the 14th Assembly began with greetings to President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on their elections to the respective posts.

Soon after, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Ramesh Meena, raised an objection to the bill and an uproar followed.

BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari requested Speaker Kailash Meghwal to allow him to raise a point or order but his plea was rejected. He then walked out of the House.

The opposition Congress and National People's Party (NPP) MLAs also staged a walkout in protest against the bill.

Amid the uproar, Kataria introduced and tabled the bill in the House.

The Rajasthan government had last month promulgated the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, that seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state from being investigated for on- duty action, without its 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.

After the bill was tabled, Independent MLA Manik Chand Surana through a point of order opposed it, saying there was no prior sanction of the President to the bill which was circulated among the members last night.

He said that prior sanction of the President should be there to amend a central law.

Surana said that the bill also had no object and reasons.

He said it was a "kaala kanoon" (black law) and that the government was trying to impose an undeclared emergency through it.

He said that the opposition would not allow a debate on the bill without the prior sanction of the President.

Responding to Surana, the home minister said that the merits and demerits of the bill would be discussed during the debate and that the bill would become a law only after it was passed by the House.

A few minuted after they had walked out, opposition members and BJP MLA Tiwari returned to the House.

Tiwari again requested the Speaker to allow him to raise a point of order.

He warned of a dharna in the Well of the House if he was not allowed by the Speaker to raise this point, but the Speaker ignored him following which he staged a second walkout.

Tiwari said that he was walking out in protest against the behaviour of the Speaker.

Three more bills were also tabled in the House before the session was adjourned for the day.

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