Centre seeks recall of SC Act 'dilution' order

Clay Curtis
April 14, 2018

Citing the sensitivity of the issue, the government said that the apex court's order had "diluted" the Act, resulting in great damage to the country.

KK Venugopal, on behalf of the Centre, said the "confusion" created by the apex court judgment deserves to be corrected by reviewing the order and recalling the directions. The statement further told the SC that the order delivered by a two-judge bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit is also creating anger, unease and a sense of disharmony in the country.

He also stressed that there was separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, which was "inviolable".

Scholars and groups working for the rights of the marginalised sections on Thursday urged the government to promulgate an ordinance to restore the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and warned of an uprising if the victimisation of such people continued.

On March 20, the court banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the Act which led to violence and clashes on April 2 following a nation-wide strike call given by several Dalit organisations against the verdict.

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He was delivering the presidential address at a seminar on "Supreme Court Judgement on SC/ST Causes, Effects and Solution" organised by South Asian Minorities Lawyers' Association and Ambedkar Educational Cultural Society.

Earlier, the SC said its March judgment in no way dilutes any provision of the SC/ST Act or rules and asserted that the Act does not mandate immediate arrest on filing of complaint. Dalits are scared. We demand constitutional protection for the act. The court had said that before an arrest of a public servant under the Act, an approval had to be sought from the appointing authority.

The Bench had added that it had not touched upon the law in the Act, but merely added safeguards from arrests to protect innocent victims.

The AG had said it was Parliament that makes the law and it believes that the SC/ST community needed to be protected from the atrocities.

The bench said through the verdict, some filters have been put in place, which are not against the basic tenet of law.

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