The Centre on Thursday told Supreme Court of India that its judgement on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has caused “commotion, anger, unease and a sense of disharmony” in the country. The government said the top court verdict, which had dealt with an issue of a “very sensitive nature”, has “diluted” the provisions of the law, resulting in “great damage” to the country. Also, the Centre suggested that the apex court may take steps to correct its order.
Further, the government said that judgment has created a sense of confusion and the verdict may have to be corrected by reviewing the judgment and recalling the directions issued by it.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, in his written submission to the court, said that top court’s judgement has not filled the gaps in the law but rather amended it through judicial legislation. Venugopal further said that there was a separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary which was “inviolable”. “It is submitted that this judgment has diluted, for the reasons stated, the provisions of the Atrocities Act read with the Code, resulting in great damage to the country,” the Attorney General’s statement to the court said.
In its strongly-worded reply, the Centre said that the statement that ‘power to declare law carries with it, within the limits of duty, to make law when none exists’, is wholly fallacious as citizens of India live under a written Constitution which separates powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
The Centre’s statement came days after several states, particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, saw violent protests on April 2 following a ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by several SC/ST organisations protesting the top court’s March 20 order.
Despite the protests, the apex court had on April 3 refused to keep in abeyance this verdict. It said that those agitating against the order putting in place certain safeguards on arrests under the Act may not have read the judgment or could have been misled by “vested interests”.
The Supreme Court had also observed that no provisions of SC/ST Act have been diluted, adding, that additional safeguards had been put in place “to protect the fundamental rights” of innocents.