Centre hints at filing review against SC ruling on SC/ST Act

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Prakash Javadekar during a press briefing on the Cabinet decisions in New Delhi, March 29, 2018. PTI

New Delhi: Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Prakash Javadekar during a press briefing on the Cabinet decisions in New Delhi, March 29, 2018.
PTI

The Central government on Thursday gave broad hints of filing the review petition against Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the SC/ST Atrocities Act. The order, which had put in place certain directives for the Act to the enforced, has drawn questions from the Opposition, NDA ally Ramvilas Paswan and even within the ruling BJP.

On Wednesday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other prominent opposition leaders raised their concerns on dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act with President Ram Nath Kovind and sought his intervention, saying the apex court order had created “a feeling of insecurity among the Dalits”.

Addressing the press on Thursday after the cabinet meeting, Union law minister said that government is well on a move to file review petition.

“The government has taken note of judgement of SC about laying down new norms as per SC/ST Act operation is concerned. I have already instructed ministry of law over the desirability of filing a review and appropriate follow-up action,” Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

NDA ally LJP, whose chief Ramvilas Paswan is a union minister has already moved Supreme Court filing review against the order.

Several MPs within the BJP too have sought for a relook. Even Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot had written to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad favouring a review plea against the verdict.

He said there were concerns that the order will make the law “ineffective” and adversely impact the dispensation of justice to Dalits and tribals.

New Delhi: Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi outside Rashtrapati Bhavan after a delegation of the opposition party's submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind, March 28, 2018. PTI

New Delhi: Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi outside Rashtrapati Bhavan after a delegation of the opposition party’s submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind, March 28, 2018.
PTI

Meanwhile, Opposition leaders met President Ramnath Kovind and handed him a memorandum.

“We met the President on the dilution of the SC/ST Act… The atrocities (on dalits and tribals) are increasing and the Act is being diluted. The President was quite positive and supportive,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters.

The Congress president was accompanied with leaders of BSP, NCP, CPI-M, SP, DMK and other parties.

The memorandum submitted by the parties attacked the central government and said the SC judgement comes at a time when Dalits in the entire country are facing a distressful situation and many families stand devastated because of the atrocities being committed “in every nook and corner of the country”.

It alleged that it is surprising that instead of fighting for the rights of Dalits, as claimed by the Union government, at the time of hearing of the case before the Supreme Court, the Centre stated that anticipatory bail could be allowed in cases of atrocities against Dalits, if no prima facie case was made out.

“This shows a double-faced character of the present government, one inside the courts and the other outside, before public and media,” the memorandum alleged.

It also said that the problems are not restricted to one particular state and have assumed a national character. This coupled with the recent judgement pronounced by the Supreme Court shall further embolden the perpetrators and atrocities against Dalits will rise even further.

(With inputs from PTI)