Supreme Court declines to stay amendments to SC/ST Act; CJI to decide if review petitions, pleas are to be heard together

Asserting that no interim orders can be passed in the matter, the Supreme Court today declined to stay amendments in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice AK Sikri, also said that the Chief Justice of India will decide if review petitions and pleas against the amendments should be heard together.

Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the review petition against the 2018 Supreme Court verdict should be decided first.

File image of the Supreme Court. AP

File image of the Supreme Court. AP

In August 2018, the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha had passed a bill which sought the overturn on the Supreme Court order that struck down the provision for an immediate arrest of a person booked under the SC/ST Act. A petition was also filed by two senior lawyers around this time, which sought that amendments to the Act be declared null and void.

The 20 March, 2018 Supreme Court order, passed by a bench led by Justice AK Goel, also incorporated the provision for a preliminary inquiry into the case, to deal with the Act’s misuse against government servants. The order also stated that a public servant can be arrested only after approval by a competent authority.

The bill passed by the two Houses of the Parliament, on the other hand, held that anyone booked under the Act cannot apply for anticipatory bail.

The Centre had justified the amendments and said that the Parliament had the power to take this decision, the aim of which is to protect marginally weaker sections of the society from atrocities.

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Updated Date: Jan 24, 2019 14:31:15 IST

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