Supreme Court refuses to stay order on SC/ST law; says '100 per cent' in favour of protecting rights

Justifying its March 20 order, the bench said while deciding on the verdict on the SC/ST Act, the top court had considered every aspect and all the judgements before reaching a conclusion.

Published: 03rd May 2018 05:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2018 08:08 AM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay its order on the SC/ST act as sought by the Centre and clarified that preliminary enquiry is not must in the case of every complaint under the anti-Dalit atrocities law — Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.

While hearing Centre’s review of seeking stay on its March 20 order, the Bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit said, “In certain cases there may be something, while in other cases there may be absolutely nothing. There may be cases which the police officers themselves feel are absurd. We said the police may conduct a preliminary enquiry and never said it is a must.”

The judgment by the Supreme Court had banned immediate arrest on the basis of complaints of atrocities committed on Dalits.

The Bench said it was 100 per cent in favour of protecting the rights of these communities and punishing those guilty of atrocities against them.

“It’s not that the judgement says there shall be no registration of crime. It’s not that accused shall not be arrested. The safeguards were for the purpose that a person should not be readily arrested or an innocent punished because there was no provision of anticipatory bail under the SC/ST Act,” the bench said.

Attorney general K K Venugopal said that the apex court cannot make rules or guidelines which go against the law passed by the legislature and also pointed out that the SC/ST verdict had resulted in the loss of life and the case be referred to a larger Bench.

He referred to various incidents and said that the judgement has led to more crime being committed against Dalits and stated that it has seriously affected the morale of the SC/ST communities.
However, the Bench said while deciding on the verdict, it had considered every aspect and all the judgements before reaching a conclusion.

The court is hearing a series of review petitions filed by the Centre and states, including Tamil Nadu and Kerala against their March 20 verdict. The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue on May 16.
Centre had moved the apex court on April 2 seeking review of its judgement by which safeguards were put on the provisions for immediate arrest under the SC/ST Act.

In the written submissions, Centre had said that the verdict has diluted the stringent provisions of the Act, resulting in great damage to the country by causing anger and a sense of disharmony among the people.
The verdict noted that on several occasions, ‘innocent’ citizens were being termed as accused and public servants deterred from performing their duties, which was never the intention of the legislature while enacting the SC/ST Act.

Hearing inconclusive, case adjourned to May 16
Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay the ruling on the SC/ST Act The attorney general wanted a larger Bench to hear the matter but the SC refused. The case has now been adjourned to 16 May when other petitioners will argue against the SC verdict

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