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Rajasthan Congress govt passes bill that prohibits protests with a family member’s dead body, imposes two-year jail term for violators

The Bills reads that any political leader who joins or becomes a party to such protests may also face a jail term of 5 years.

The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress administration in Rajasthan passed a bill on Thursday, July 20, that forbids individuals from using a family member’s dead body for sit-in protests and stipulates a two-year jail sentence as punishment for violators.

The Rajasthan Honour of Dead Body Bill-2023, which was introduced on Tuesday, reads that the family members who fail to take possession of a body may be sentenced to up to one year in prison, a fine, or both. Family members who use the body for protest purposes or authorise anyone else to do so may also be sentenced to up to two years in prison and a fine.

Likewise, any political leader who joins or becomes a party to such protests may also face a jail term of 5 years.

The Bill also allows police the authority to seize a body if they have grounds to suspect that it will be used by an illegal assembly or family members as a means of protest.

“Human dignity with which living human being is expected to be treated should also be extended to a person, who is dead and the right to accord decent burial or cremation to the dead body of a person, should be taken to be a part of the right to such dignity.

Since the incidents of remonstration for unjustified demands are increasing in the State and in this matter there are no adequate provisions in the existing law, likewise, to keep a record of unclaimed bodies, protection of genetic data information through DNA profiling and digitization and confidentiality of information are need of the hour,” the bill said.

Additionally, any authorised person who violates the confidentiality of any genetic data will be penalised with a fine and a prison sentence ranging from three to ten years.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal said the government brought the bill as dead bodies are used to get “unjustified demands” fulfilled and such incidents have been increasing.

“Till now, there was no such act and there was no provision in regard to any other act,” Dhariwal said during a debate on the bill.

The House passed the Rajasthan Honour of Dead Body Bill-2023 by voice vote after the minister’s reply.

BJP slams Rajasthan Congress Govt for the draconian law

Leader of the opposition, Rajendra Rathore, criticised the Gehlot administration and compared the law to the Defence of India Act (DIR) and Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) that were introduced under the state of emergency.

BJP leader Amit Malviya also slammed the Ashok Gehlot government for introducing such a draconian law that will stifle the struggle for human rights.  “Now cruel laws are being made in Rajasthan to crush the fight for the rights of the people. If someone protests by keeping the dead body on the road for justice, then he will be jailed for 2 years, if the leader joins, then he will be jailed for 5 years… If the family refuses to take the dead body, he will be jailed for one year. The time has come for the ‘last rites’ of the Congress government in Rajasthan,” the BJP leader tweeted.

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