Rajasthan government’s criminal law ordinance is an instrument to harass the media: Editors Guild of India

By NL Team

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Deeply concerned by the Rajasthan Government’s decision to make the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017 into an Act in the current legislative session, The Editors Guild of India has urged the Rajasthan government to “withdraw the ordinance and desist from making it into law”.

The ordinance was promulgated by the Vasundhara Raje-led Bharatiya Janata Party government on September 7 to “protect the judiciary and the bureaucracy against false first information reports”. Giving reasons for its request for withdrawal of the ordinance, The Editors Guild stated in its release, “In reality, it [the ordinance] is a pernicious instrument to harass the media, hide wrongful acts by government servants and drastically curb the freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution of India.”

The top editors’ body also said, “Rather than taking stern measures to prevent and punish those who indulge in frivolous or false litigation, the Rajasthan government has passed an ordinance that is bent on bludgeoning the messenger.”

The ordinance, which was tabled in the state assembly this morning, is not just being criticised by The Editors Guild. Apart from Twitter trends such as  “Criminal Laws” and #Hitler Raje, the tabling of the ordinance was also protested by the Congress leaders.

Apart from the above, AK Jain, a senior lawyer, has filed a public interest litigation against the proposed law, ANI reported.

The government, however, has called the law ‘perfect’ and ‘balanced’. PP Chaudhary, Minister of State (Law and Justice) was quoted as saying by ANI.