The government of Rajasthan has introduced a new Code of Criminal Procedure (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill that prohibits prosecution on both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state for on-duty action, without its prior sanction.
About the bill:
- The bill prohibits the courts from ordering investigation against both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state, without taking prior permission from the government.
- The ordinance provides 180 days of immunity to the officers. If there is no decision on the sanction request post the stipulated time period, it will automatically mean that sanction has been granted.
- Under the new law, the media has also been gagged and are not allowed to report on the accusation against such a person until the prosecution gets the go-ahead from the sanctioning authority, which may take up to six months.
- The amendment 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.
- The Ordinance empowers the sanctioning authority to take a decision in six months, from the date of the receipt of the proposal for sanction, which has been questioned by the opposition party which said it may give enough time for the accused to move files and dilute the case.
- Activists have also opposed the bill that 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, saying it muzzles free speech.