State governments too have concurred with the Centre’s stand on the issue of recalling the Supreme Court order on the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the home ministry officials said. The last month’s ruling by the Supreme Court has been challenged by the Centre.
MHA’s remarks came in the wake of reports that some state governments have already directed their police to strictly implement the March 20 apex court order, which has upset Dalits groups leading to protests.
“The Centre has made abundantly clear that there should be no dilution of the SC/ST Act. It has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court for recall of its order. As far as states are concerned, they are also on board. They are in touch with the Centre and many of them are taking steps. Some have already announced that they will associate with the Centre,” a ministry official said.
There were reports that some state governments have issued formal orders, instructing police chiefs to strictly implement the Supreme Court order that forbids arrest under the SC/ST Act without sanction.
On the other hand, some states said they would file petitions in the Supreme Court challenging its order modifying the SC/ST Act, another official said.
Chhattisgarh has announced its intention to challenge the apex court order while Kerala has already filed a review petition.
Dalit groups had called a massive Bharat Bandh on April 2 to protest against the Supreme Court ruling. At least 12 people were killed in violence. Meanwhile, another bandh was called on April 10 called by people opposed to caste-based reservations in jobs and education, which went off peacefully.
The central government has already filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against the verdict, contending that the ruling “diluted” the provisions of the law, resulting in “great damage” to the country, and steps may be taken to correct it.
(With inputs from PTI)