Apex court declines to stay ruling on SC/ST Act; To hold detailed hearing

RSTV Bureau
Lucknow: Members of Dalit community stage a protest during 'Bharat Bandh' against the alleged 'dilution' of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes act, in Lucknow, April 2, 2018. PTI

Lucknow: Members of Dalit community stage a protest during ‘Bharat Bandh’ against the alleged ‘dilution’ of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes act, in Lucknow, April 2, 2018.
PTI

The Supreme Court has declined to suspend its ruling on the SC/ST Act but said it will consider in detail the Centre’s review petition challenging its ruling. The bench also said it has not diluted any provision of SC/ST Act and only safeguarded the interest of innocents from being arrested.

The two-judge bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit, while referring to the large-scale nationwide violence during the protest against the verdict, said that people who are agitating have not read the judgment properly and have been misled by vested interests.

The provisions of the Act cannot be used to terrorise the innocents, it said while posting the hearing after 10 days.

The top court has also asked the Maharashtra government and others to file written submissions by then.

Supreme Court

The union government, in its review petition, said the March 20 verdict has “wide ramification and implication resulting in dilution of the stringent provisions of law enacted under the 1989 enactment. It adversely affects a substantial portion of the population of India being the members of SC/ST”.

“It is also contrary to the legislative policy of Parliament as reflected in the Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989,” the centre argued in its petition.

The apex court had on March 20 said that “in view of the acknowledged abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Atrocities Act, arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded.”.

The petition was filed this morning before the bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit, the bench which had given the original ruling on March 20.

Widespread protests were organised by Dalit groups across north and central India, which left nine people dead.

(With inputs from PTI)