The Centre also urged the court to immediately revoke the changes made to the Act so that the law to do with punishment for atrocities on SC/STs is implemented as prescribed by Parliament.
Seeking recall of a judgment that diluted provisions of the anti-atrocities law against the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it has resulted into “great damage” to the country and the same can be corrected by revoking the changes made to the Act. The March 20 judgment “dealing with an issue of very sensitive nature caused a lot of commotion, anger, unease and a sense of disharmony…the confusion created by this judgment may have to be corrected by reviewing it and recalling the directions,” attorney general KK Venugopal said. The Centre also urged the court to immediately revoke the changes made to the Act so that the law to do with punishment for atrocities on SC/STs is implemented as prescribed by Parliament. In a written submission, the government said the SC has been misled into thinking it has the power to legislate while diluting the arrest provision in SC/ST Act “leading to confusion and unrest in the country.”
“The court is not filling the gaps but amending through judicial legislation, thereby defeating the salutary provisions,” it said, adding that “the entire judgment is vitiated by the fact that the apex court proceeds on the basis that it can legislate and has power to make law,” the AG said on behalf of the Centre. Venugopal also questioned the direction for seeking prior approval of the appointing authority in case of public servant and the SSP in case of private citizens before arrest on a complaint filed under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
“This requirement is in the teeth of the provisions of the Atrocities Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure Code,” he submitted. Hearing the Centre’s review petition, the Supreme Court had earlier refused to stay its March 20 order that laid down stringent ‘safeguards’ on automatic arrest of individuals under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. It said that its judgment in no way diluted any provision, but only protected innocents from being punished. The court, however, said that it is open to reconsider its judgment.