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31 Oct 2017

BJP leadership dissatisfied with Rajasthan's shield and gag bill

It seems unlikely that the Vasundhara Raje-led Rajasthan government will push for passing the shield and gag bill as BJP's leadership is not in favor of the bill.

Though they haven't intervened in the matter, TOI reports that if Raje wouldn't have asked for a review of the bill, they would have intervened.

What is this bill and BJP leadership's view? Read on!

In context

Rajasthan gag bill: BJP leadership not happy
What is the shield and gag bill?


What is the shield and gag bill?

On September 7, Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government had passed an ordinance amending the Code of Criminal Procedure. This was then tabled in the Assembly.

This bill makes it a criminal offence to investigate and identify public servants facing corruption allegations until government sanction is obtained.

If government does not respond within six months, sanction will be assumed.

Violators will be imprisoned for two years.


Centre had defended the bill

Since the ordinance amended a central law, it needed Governor's approval.

This was granted, implying that it was approved by the home ministry, which termed it "perfect and balanced."

Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad defended the bill saying it would stop "motivated complaints." He said according to a state government survey, "73% complaints against public servants turned out to be without any basis."

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But, BJP top brass expresses dissatisfaction with the bill


But, BJP top brass expresses dissatisfaction with the bill

The BJP's top leadership is "less enthusiastic" about the bill. They feel that the ordinance was not necessary and could have been avoided altogether.

BJP's main premise has been taking up cudgels against the corrupt and this bill was criticized as protecting the corrupt, prompting a reaction from the party.

Thus, the Rajasthan government may withdraw the ordinance or allow the bill to lapse.


What will happen next?

BJP has brute majority in the Assembly with 161 of 200 MLAs and in LS, all 25 Rajasthan MPs are from BJP.

If passed in the Assembly, this bill will raise an uproar which BJP may find hard to diffuse before assembly elections, especially as it aims for 180+ seats.

Raje might defer the bill and save face instead of risking opposition.

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