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Supreme Court reserves order on review plea filed by Centre against amendments to SC/ST Act

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on the review petition filed by the Centre against the amendments it had approved on March 20, 2018 judgement which had virtually diluted provisions of arrest under the SC/ST Act.

Supreme Court reserves order on review plea filed by Centre against amendments to SC/ST Act

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on the review petition filed by the Centre against the amendments it had approved on March 20, 2018 judgement which had virtually diluted provisions of arrest under the SC/ST Act.

A three-judge Constitution bench consisting of Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and B R Gavai while reserving its order said that we are not going to remove the provisions of the law, neither will we make any changes and we will not revoke the amendment as well.

The bench also contended that on receiving a complaint under the SC / ST Act, if the police have any doubt about the complaint, then the police will conduct preliminary action before taking any action.

This comes after the Supreme Court on Tuesday recalled its March 20, 2018 verdict, which amended the written law to protect persons accused of committing atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

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The three-judge bench in its ruling had observed that the struggles of the scheduled tribe and scheduled caste communities are still not over in the country. The bench said SC/ST people still face untouchability, abuse and are being socially outcast.

The apex court had further stated the Constitution provides for the protection of SC/ST people under Article 15 but they still face social abuse and discrimination. Dealing with the misuse of provisions of the SC/ST Act and lodging of false cases, the bench said it is not due to the caste system but due to human failure.

On March 20 2018, a judgment by Justice AK Goel had diluted the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989, to grant anticipatory bail to accused persons and directed that the police should conduct a preliminary enquiry on whether complaint under the 1989 law is “frivolous or motivated” before registering a case. 

Justice Goel had contended that members of the SC/ST use the 1989 law to lodge false complaints, leading to the arrest of innocent persons.

The March 20 judgment had triggered widespread protests and violence and compelled the government to amend the Act to negate the effect of the apex court ruling. The Centre also filed a review against the judgment.