MUMBAI: Maharashtra government should repeal the CrPC amendment that makes it compulsory for magistrates to check if a prior sanction from the authority has been obtained before ordering probe against public servants, an NGO working for political reforms urged today. 

The state Cabinet had on June 9 decided to amend articles 156(3) and 190(1)(G) of Criminal Procedure Code in view of several false complaints filed against public servants. 

"This decision of the Maharashtra Cabinet goes directly against Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees 'equality before the law or equal protection of the laws' to 'any person within the territory of India'," Professor Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said. 
"This decision obviously gives 'greater protection' to MLAs and bureaucrats, and therefore makes them 'more equal' than ordinary citizens," Chhokar said. 
According to analysis by ADR of affidavits submitted by MLAs from Maharashtra at the time of election in 2014, 165 (57 per cent) of the MLAs had declared criminal cases filed against them. Out of these, 51 (31 per cent) MLAs had declared cases where charges had been framed. 
Among all Legislative Assemblies in the country, Maharashtra has second highest number of MLAs with criminal cases, after Jharkhand, a statement issued by ADR said. 

Three state MLAs had declared cases related to murder and attempt to murder, 11 MLAs declared cases related to crimes against women, 3 legislators declared cases related to causing communal disharmony, 14 MLAs with cases of robbery and dacoity and 9 MLAs with cases related to kidnapping, it added. 

"In view of such grave statistics regarding the composition of the Maharashtra Assembly and municipalities, further restricting the power of filing an FIR against an elected representative would bode ill not just for legislature but for the very fabric of democracy in the country," Chhokar said.
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