SC/ST Act: Centre approves filing review petition in Supreme Court against its ruling to change rules for arrest

The Union Law Ministry has approved the filing of review petition in the Supreme Court against the apex court's recent ruling on the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, reports said.

The decision has come a day after leaders of various opposition parties led by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi  raised their concerns on dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act with President Ram Nath Kovind and sought his intervention, saying the apex court order had created "a feeling of insecurity among the Dalits".

Supreme Court

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

"We met the president on the dilution of the SC/ST Act... The atrocities (on Dalits and tribals) are increasing and the Act is being diluted. The president was quite positive and supportive," Gandhi had told reporters after he along with leaders of BSP, NCP, CPI-M, SP, DMK and other parties handed over a memorandum to Kovind this evening.

Alleging a rampant misuse of the stringent rules of the SC/ST Act against government servants, the apex court had on 20 March passed an order, stating that no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law. As Firspost writer Aakar Patel had argued earlier, the misuse of the rules of the SC/ST Act appear to be exaggerated as compared to other acts.

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 court had said.

A bench of Justices Adarsh Goel and UU Lalit had also removed the restrictions on granting anticipatory bail, and imposing a condition that a public servant could be prosecuted only after obtaining permission from the higher authorities, the party statement said.

 

Following the Supreme Court order last week, Opposition parties had launched a protest in both Houses of the Parliament, demanding the Central government file an immediate review petition against the order. Work in both the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament was disrupted throughout last week because of that.

Several Dalit leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had also demanded a review of the order. In fact, on 21 March, On Wednesday, Dalit MPs belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) met Union minister for social justice and empowerment, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, and urged him to take up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported The Indian Express. Sources told the newspaper that the MPs have also asked for a review petition to be filed in court against the verdict.

The CPM had also urged the Centre to immediately move a review petition against the "retrograde" judgment.

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on 28 March and later said the government will file a review petition against a Supreme Court order that dilutes some stringent provisions of the anti-atrocities Act.

Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.

Updated Date: Mar 29, 2018 12:31:20 IST

Also See