Top court ruling on SC/ST Act “diluted” the provisions of law: Centre

RSTV Bureau

Supreme Court

The Centre has strongly contended against Supreme Court’s recent judgement on the SC/ST Act. In its written submissions, the government has argued that ruling “diluted” the provisions of the law, resulting in “great damage” to the country, and steps may be taken to correct it.

The government also said the “confusion” created by the apex court verdict may have to be corrected by reviewing the judgement and recalling the directions issued by it.

“It is submitted that this judgement has diluted, for the reasons stated, the provisions of the Atrocities Act read with the Code, resulting in great damage to the country,” Attorney General KK Venugopal said in his written submissions.

The Attorney General further argued that through the judgement, the top court has not filled the gaps in the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, but rather amended it through judicial legislation.

He also stressed that there was separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary which was “inviolable”.

“This case, dealing with the issue of very sensitive nature, has caused a lot of commotion in the country and is also creating anger, unease and a sense of disharmony,” it said.

The issue has led to massive protest on April 2 following a ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by several Dalit and subaltern organisations protesting the top court’s March 20 order, which claimed at least eight lives and injured hundreds.

The apex court had on April 3 refused to keep in abeyance this verdict, saying those agitating against its order putting in place certain safeguards on arrests under the Act may not have read the judgement or could have been misled by “vested interests”.

The top court had also asserted that “no provisions of SC/ST Act have been diluted” while clarifying that additional safeguards had been put in place “to protect the fundamental rights” of innocents.

The Supreme Court’s March 20 ruling had diluted the provisions of the Act and said government servants should not be arrested without prior sanction and private citizens, too, should be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.