As NDA ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its recent order relaxing stringent provisions of a law dealing with cases of atrocities against Dalitsa and Tribals, Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot too have favoured a similar stand from the government.
The opposition has been targeting the government over the apex court order, Congress party accusing it not taking a definitive stand.
Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan told reporters that his party had filed a review plea as the apex court’s order had rendered the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act “toothless” and caused a lot of anger among these communities.
Paswan said it was necessary that the original provisions of the law, which he described as a weapon for Dalits and tribals against atrocities, be restored.
Within the ruling party too, many MPs have reportedly spoken in the favour of moving review petition.
Delhi MP Udit Raj had said that the order, if not reviewed, can harm his party politically, at a time it has been making a concerted bid to woo Dalits, who are spread across the country and will play a crucial role to its electoral fortunes.
In a first clear indication of the emerging view within the government, Social Justice Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot wrote 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.
Seeking a legal opinion on the issue, Gehlot, in his note to Prasad, said, “It is felt that the Supreme Court order may make the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act ineffective and adversely impact the dispensation of justicee system. In my opinion it would be right to file a review petition against the verdict.”
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) have also conveyed their views and demanded a review of the verdict, saying the original Act, as it existed before the SC verdict, should be restored.
(With inputs from PTI)