SC ST Act: Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, three states which have BJP governments, will be seeking a review of the Supreme Court order on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The move comes days after these states had moved to implement the apex court’s March 20 order that had triggered violent protests during a Bharat Bandh that killed a number of people.
Apart from these states, Tamil Nadu has also announced to seek a review of the modifications being done in certain provisions of the Act. Kerala was the first state to move court with a review petition.
The decision by these states comes in wake of an intervention by the central BJP leadership days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public assurance that the BJP government at the Centre would not allow the law to be “affected”. The ruling dispensation has also faced flak over the central government’s purported delay in filing a review petition in the top court. A group of BJP Dalit leaders met party chief Amit Shah last week and apprised him of the “deepening anguish” in the community. They also persuaded him to “take measures that would regain the confidence of the community in the BJP.”
Union minister and key BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) Ram Vilas Paswan said the Modi dispensation will now push for reservation for scheduled castes and tribes in promotion in government jobs and may bring an ordinance.
While the Centre has already filed a review plea, a top BJP leader told reporters that the party’s central leadership has spoken to the chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where police chiefs were asked to implement the March 20 order, to keep in abeyance the decision and move the court with their review pleas, The Indian Express reported.
The court had on March 20 laid down guidelines to prevent the alleged misuse of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Dalit groups have, however, vehemently protested against the verdict, saying it dilutes the law and will lead to a rise in cases of atrocities against the scheduled castes and tribes. A ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by them on April 2 had turned violent, leading to deaths of at least 11 persons.