Rajasthan Congress Committee President, Sachin Pilot filed a writ petition in the Rajasthan High Court challenging the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017 which makes it compulsory to obtain approval of the government before investigating any public servant on duty.
The petitioner contended that the ordinance is a draconian law shaking the conscience of the public by putting a curtain on the functioning of the government. He added that the new amendment not only destroys the independency of judicial mechanism and but also makes the judiciary look inferior in front of the executive which is unconstitutional in nature an violative of the doctrine of separation of powers. Mr. Pilot referring to the case of Subramaniam Swamy v. Dr. Manmohan Singh submitted that the a private citizen has the right to initiate a criminal action against a corrupt official which was observed as right of access and since it’s a constitutional right, the same shouldn’t be brought down with unreasonable restrains. The court in the referred case also talked in detail the need for quick and effective prosecution of public officials who are corrupt and delay in sanction would ensure that people have no faith in the rule of the law He also questioned the need for bringing up the law as there are already enough laws to protect the reputation of a public servant.
Rajasthan HC, in its response to the petition alleged the violation of Article 19 and considered it to be a chilling effect on the fundamental right of speech and expression. Citing the restriction placed on media by prohibiting disclosure, the court considered the ordinance to be unconstitutional, arbitrary and a reflection of imperialistic and non-democratic government.
The bench comprising of Justice Rastogi and Justice Maheshwari issued a notice to the government.
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