Chief Minister Raman Singh’s BJP government in Chhattisgarh has recalled a circular issued by the Police Headquarters to implement the Supreme Court’s latest order in which it had made some changes in the SC/ST Act. Raman Singh said that the order stands annulled as of now and the state will move the Supreme Court seeking review of its March 20 order that has caused a nationwide outrage.
Singh said that the BJP government is committed to the welfare of the SC/ST people and has been sensitive towards their cause. “The state government just like the Centre will appeal against the decision of the Supreme Court. Till then the order stands cancelled,” he said.
The Police Headquarters had on April 6 issued a circular asking the police to implement the Supreme Court’s order strictly. The order was issued days before Prime Minister visited the state and utilised the opportunity to assure the nation that his government will not allow the dilution of the Act which seeks to deliver speedy justice to marginalised section of the society. The circular was issued by ADGP RK Vij to all SPs. Vij refused to make any comment when approached by The Indian Express.
We have always been sensitive towards cause of SCs & STs, however state govt, just like Centre, will appeal against decision of Supreme Court. Till then the order (to strictly implement the Supreme Court order) by Police headquarters stands cancelled: Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh pic.twitter.com/cpFFxCmBvw
— ANI (@ANI) April 17, 2018
However, a senior police said that it is routine practice to issue an order to the lower rank after the Supreme Court issues directives.
Besides Chhattisgarh, BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have also issued circulars directing the police to implement the Supreme Court order. The development prompted the Congress party to target the BJP which accused the government of double-speak on the issue. Congress leader PL Punia had earlier said that the BJP government’s decision in Chhattisgarh to go ahead with the SC order shows that the party is insensitive towards the cause of Dalits.
In its order issued on March 20, the top court had allegedly diluted some stringent provisions in the law and introduced a new set of rules for the arrest of a government servant. The court had also introduced a provision of seeking anticipatory bail by accused. The order caused a nationwide outrage with Dalits groups observing Bharat Bandh on April 2 and forcing the government on the defensive. The Centre then moved the top court with a review petition.