SC refuses to stay amendments to SC/ST Act
New Delhi, Jan 24: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay the proposed amendments to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act which restored the no anticipatory bail provision for the accused.
A bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri said the pending review petition filed by the Centre against the apex court's March 20, 2018 verdict and the pleas challenging the new amendments made in the SC/ST verdict will be taken up together.
The bench referred the matter to the Chief Justice for reconstitution of a bench which Justice U.U. Lalit was a part of.
Justice Lalit was part of a bench which had passed the March 20, 2018 verdict, taking note of the rampant misuse of the stringent SC/ST Act against government servants and held that there shall be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.
The Centre had moved the apex court on 2 April seeking that the matter be addressed by the court in an open hearing, saying, "The judgment dated 20 March has widespread ramifications and implications resulting in dilution of the stringent provisions of the law enacted under the 1989 enactment."
The ruling triggered protests by Dalit groups across the country, with Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh coming under a Bharat bandh after the verdict.
The Centre, in its plea, had said the order "adversely affects a substantial portion of the population of India being SC/ST members". It was also "contrary to the legislative policy of the Parliament" as reflected in the Act, it said.
It is also the Centre's stand that any dilution of the provisions of the amended SC/ST Act would result in depriving the community of their constitutional rights.