MP Soso Jachvliani has withdrawn a bill to make it a crime to insult religious feelings. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian member of parliament has unexpectedly withdrawn a draft law that would make it a crime to insult religious feelings.

In a short explanatory note, MP Soso Jachvliani explained that the issue is so important that more consultations are necessary to refine the draft bill.

“It requires some time,” he wrote.

The draft bill was submitted by Jachvliani in December, 2015, and parliament should start debating it by February 19.

The proposal was criticized by many, including the Public Defender, who believe it would violate the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution.

“We received a notice that Jachvliani withdrew this draft. Accordingly, parliament halts its review,” Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said on Tuesday.

Deputy Speaker Manana Kobakhidze said Jachvliani has a right to withdraw his draft. She said the human rights committee had remarks about the bill, but she added that she couldn’t have perceived that the draft would ‘contradict the democratic order.’