The ministry feels that the apex court order may defeat the real purpose of the law which is to ensure swift justice for victims of atrocities against the SC/ST communities.
Hectic parleys are being held by the government on seeking review of the Supreme Court verdict “diluting” provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, amid indications that the ministry of social justice is in favour of the move. The ministry feels that the apex court order may defeat the real purpose of the law which is to ensure swift justice for victims of atrocities against the SC/ST communities. According to sources, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot recently met BJP chief Amit Shah, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Finance Arun Jaitley to discuss the matter.
Jaitley been tasked with taking a final decision in this regard. “The social justice ministry is likely to seek the opinion of the law ministry regarding it,” a source in the ministry said. 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. The Supreme Court had on March 20 diluted stringent provisions mandating immediate arrest under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act. It had taken note of the rampant misuse of the stringent Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against government servants and held that there shall be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.
It had passed a slew of directions and said a public servant can be arrested in cases lodged under the SC/ST Act only after prior approval by the competent authority. According to a ministry official, most of the victims of atrocities against the SC/ST communities are so poor that it would be really difficult for them to present their case along with proof to police authorities and get justice. Evidence can also be destroyed. The Supreme court order will only delay justice to the victims, the official said.