The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sword dangles on Gehlot deputy

Jaipur, May 7: There seems to be no respite for Rajasthan deputy chief minister Kamla, who received a sword at a public function on April 25.

The additional district and sessions judge of Bhinmal, in Jalore district, have pulled up a subordinate court for rejecting the complaint against Kamla — who prefers to be called only by her first name — on the basis of her press statement.

In her statement, Kamla rejected any comparison between the sword she accepted and the tridents distributed by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad at a rally last month.

The sword she was presented with was a decorative piece and manufacturers of such articles had proper licences, chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s deputy had argued.

But judge Jayant Kumar Upadhyaya, who was hearing a review petition filed by BJP leader Milap Chand Mehta, said the rejection by the subordinate court was defective and against the spirit of law and directed it to hear the case afresh.

According to Mehta, three persons — Kamla, Jalore distr-ict collector P.C. Balai and Congress MLA Heera Lal Vishnoi — violated the Arms Act by accepting swords at a cattle fair in Sanchore in Jalore district.

Mehta had filed a complaint in the court of the Raniwara judicial magistrate, pleading that police file an FIR against the three under Section 4/25 of the Act.

But his petition was rejected on the basis of Kamla’s press statement that she had returned the sword.

Mehta contended that a court could not base its order on a newspaper report without investigating it. He asserted that even if Kamla had returned the sword, she was not absolved under the Act.

He also pointed out that the lower court had not kept in mind the recent notification of the state government banning exhibition, possession and distribution of sharp-bladed weapons.

He further said VHP and Bajrang Dal activists were being arrested at random under the Arms Act for distributing four-inch tridents, but no action was being taken against distribution of swords, which were two-and-a-half feet in length and much sharper.

Judge Upadhyaya, in his order yesterday, ruled that an inquiry should have been conducted on the basis of the evidence of the petitioner, who was present in the court, and that of the witnesses.

He also wondered that if the swords, as claimed by the defence, were not sharp and pointed, why did the recipients decide to return them. Their act, he added, creates a sufficient ground for doubt and demands an inquiry.

He ordered the subordinate court to record the evidences of the petitioner and the witnesses and hear the complaint afresh. May 27 has been fixed for the hearing.

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