National

Supreme Court Refuses To Stay Amendments To SC/ST Act

HARSH RANJAN | 0
3010
| January 25 , 2019 , 15:27 IST

The Supreme Court today refused to stay the amendments to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act that restored the provision of no anticipatory bail for the accused.

A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri said it would hear the Centre’s review petition against its judgement of March 20, 2018, and the pleas against the amendments together.

The judgement of March 20, 2018, had diluted the law’s provisions and had said public servants cannot be arrested immediately after a complaint is filed against them under the law.

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 verdict, taking note of the rampant misuse of the stringent SC/ST Act against government servants and held that there would be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.

The top court had earlier said that the new amendments to the SC/ST law passed by Parliament cannot be stayed and had sought the Centre's response to pleas challenging the provisions.

The pleas have sought a declaration of the new amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as ultra vires.

Parliament on August 9 last year had passed the bill to overturn the top court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the SC and ST law.

The amendments rule out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs, notwithstanding any court order.

They provide that no preliminary inquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.

ALSO READ: Lok Sabha Passes SC/ST Bill, Strict Action Against Forced Manual Scavenging

The court was hearing the pleas alleging that the two Houses of Parliament had "arbitrarily" decided to amend the law and restored the previous provisions in such a manner so that an innocent cannot avail the right of anticipatory bail.