Disquiet over apex order on SC, ST Act: Worried Dalit BJP MPs, Congress want govt to file review petition

By: | Updated: March 22, 2018 12:31 PM

Dalit MPs of ruling BJP dispensation at the Centre have raised reservations over the Supreme Court reportedly diluting strict provisions under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Supreme Court order on SC, ST Act DalitThe Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that there shall be no immediate arrest of government officials on any complaint filed under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act

Dalit MPs of ruling BJP dispensation at the Centre have raised reservations over the Supreme Court reportedly diluting strict provisions under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The unhappy lawmakers met Union Minister Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention. The delegation of MPs, which included a minister, has even asked the central government to file a review plea in the apex court.

What is the Supreme Court’s order?

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that there shall be no immediate arrest of government officials on any complaint filed under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, citing rampant misuses of the stringent law against the public servant. Before arresting a public servant under the SC/ST Act, a preliminary probe by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent is a must, the top court said.

Congress raises concern

Congress has latched on to the issue to train guns at BJP alleging that atrocities against Dalits have increased during the tenure of the incumbent government. Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma raised concerns over the decision of the Supreme Court. Sharma alleged that there is a feeling of insecurity among SCs, STs and other oppressed classes and emphasized on the need to review the decision in the national interest.

Former chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Congress MP P L Punia claimed that people are falsely implicated in murder or dacoity cases too. He also wondered why the demand to save people from being falsely implicated only came up in cases of Atrocities Act and why is there an attempt to further silence the already oppressed.

BJP’s take on the issue

Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that he would examine the order and the issues and concerns over it. BJP MP and party’s SC Cell head Vinod Kumar Sonkar said that the Supreme Court order was a huge setback for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The government should act and take necessary steps to protect the communities as the Supreme Court has virtually given the harassers or assailants impunity, he said.

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