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SC/ST Protection Act: Kerala government files review petition in Supreme Court

The apex court had, on March 20, introduced the provision of anticipatory bail in the act while directing that there would be no automatic arrest on any complaint filed under the law.

Published: 14th April 2018 06:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2018 02:28 AM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court of India (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: After the country's top court issued a verdict on the SC/ST Protection act, the Kerala government on Saturday filed a review petition in Supreme Court to highlight the issue of rising insecurity among the SC/ST population who are on the receiving end of serious crimes being committed.

The review petition was filed by the Chief Secretary via advocate G Prakash, with the state of Maharashtra (through Karad police station officer), Dr Subhash Kashinath Mahajan (director of technical education) and Bhaskar Karbhari Gaikwad as respondents. The review petition said the judgment has gone against the provisions of the Act.

While rendering its judgment, the apex court failed to appropriately appreciate certain facts and settled principles of law, the petition said, adding that in addition, certain other facts that would have a significant bearing on the case have escaped the consideration of the court, resulting in apparent errors. The state further pointed out that while passing the Act, Parliament had stated that “Despite various measures to improve the socioeconomic conditions of SCs and STs, they remain vulnerable.

They are denied a number of civil rights. They are subjected to various offences, indignities, humiliations and harassment. They have, in several brutal incidents, been deprived of their life and property. Serious crimes are committed against them for various historical, social and economic reasons.” Parliament had further stated that “A special legislation to check and deter crimes against them committed by non-SCs and non-ST has, therefore, become necessary.”

The review petition said the court should have appreciated that there are several severe offences such as sexual harassment of SC/ST women, rape, murder and acid attacks where the first information report needs to be registered at the earliest so that the investigation commences immediately without any room for the accused to seek anticipatory bail. The petition added that as per the National Crime Records Bureau data, offences against SCs/ STs have been continuing.

“It has escaped the consideration of the court that contrary to the assertion of any misuse of the 1989 Act, the facts and data have demonstrated a weak implementation of the said Act, thereby endorsing the requirement for a strict interpretation of the deterrent provisions contained therein.” The alleged potential of misuse doesn’t deserve to be considered as a valid, justifiable or permissible ground for reading down the stringent provisions, the state argued.

“In the given situation of continuing offences of atrocities against members of SCs and STs, it would be more significant and meaningful to affirm the reliance and trust of members of SCs and STs on the statue and not make it easier for the accused to get away from arrest, by imposing a preliminary inquiry,” the review petition said.

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