SC/ST Act: Under pressure from Opposition, Centre to file review petition in Supreme Court today

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New Delhi | Published: April 2, 2018 9:26:13 AM

The Supreme Court had last month diluted certain provisions under the SC/ST Act including to stop automatic arrest of government servants on mere complaints filed against them. The court had said that it was needed to stop misuse of the law.

Supreme Court, Ravi Shankar Prasad, SC/ST ActCentre to file review petition against SC/ST Act order in SC

The Centre has said it will today move a review petition in the Supreme Court over its recent ruling on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The government said that it feels the recent order is not in the interest of the marginalised section of society and thus a review is required. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday tweeted that the government will file a review petition against the SC judgement on SC/ST Protection Act on Monday.

The apex court order last month triggered a nationwide outrage with opposition parties and several others group accusing the government of not taking measures to prevent the rights of people belonging to the SC/ST communities.

What the Supreme Court order means for the Act:

1. In its order, the SC had directed that there will be no automatic arrest of government servants on any complaint filed under the law and a prior approval from the competent authority will mandatory.

2. The court had also introduced the provision of anticipatory bail in the Act.

3. Besides laying down new norms, the court had ruled that preliminary enquiry would be done by the DSP. This, the court said, was needed to ensure there is no misuse of the law.

4. The SC/ST Act was amended by the government recently to ensure speedy justice to victims. The amended law had come into effect from January 26, 2016.

On Friday, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot appealed to those opposing the SC’s verdict to withdraw their protests. On Wednesday, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan along with Dalit Ministers and MPs had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the issues arising out of the top court’s verdict. On the same day, leaders of several opposition parties had met President Ram Nath Kovind and sought his intervention.

The provisions of the Act provide for establishing criminal liability for specifically defined atrocities against SC/ST people; penalisation according to the IPC; relief and compensation to victims and establishing an authority for the implementation of the law.

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