Supreme Court once again refuses to stay amendments to SC/ST Act

The Supreme Court on Wednesday once again refused to stay amendments to the SC/ST Act that restored the no anticipatory bail provision and said all matters including the Centre’s review petition will be heard on February 19.

A bench headed by Justice U U Lalit said the issue requires hearing in detail and it will be appropriate if all matters are heard on February 19.

The bench refused to stay the amendments to the SC/ST Act after senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for one of the petitioners who had challenged the changes made to the Act, sought an immediate stay on it.

The apex court had on January 25 said it will consider listing the Centre’s review and petitions challenging the amendments to the SC/ ST Act 2018, together before an appropriate bench.

The top court had earlier refused to stay the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018 which restored the provision that no anticipatory bail be granted to the accused.

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

On March 20, 2018, the apex court had taken note of the rampant misuse of the stringent SC/ST Act against government servants and private individuals and said 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 on pleas challenging the provisions.

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

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.

The court was hearing the pleas alleging that 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.

Supreme Court refuses to stay amendments to SC/ST Act

The Supreme Court 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.

Supreme Court rejectes to stay amendments to SC/ST Act

NEW DELHI: A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, refused to stay the recent amendments brought in to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities)  Act, 1989. The bench issued notice to the Centre but refused to stay the amendments, saying “no stay can be granted without hearing the government”. The bench asked the Centre to file its reply in six weeks.

We know that the government has brought in new amendments, that too without removing the defects,” the bench said.

After hearing senior counsel Mohan Parasaran the bench said that it was also not a validation Act, As a counsel for petitioner Prithvi Raj Chauhan sought a stay on the amendments, the bench said, “It is now a legislation and cannot be stayed at this stage.”

In their petitions, Prathvi Raj Chauhan and Sanjeev Babanrao Bhor pointed out that the March 20 verdict providing for anticipatory bail and preliminary enquiry into the complaints. The government had approached the court with a review petition, but the apex court refused to stay its order.

Supreme Court declines to stay its 20 March verdict on SC/ST verdict

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to keep in abeyance its 20 March order on the SC/ST Act but said it will consider in detail the Centre’s review petition.

A bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit, while referring to the large-scale nationwide violence during the protest against the verdict, said that people who are agitating have not read the judgment properly and have been misled by vested interests.

The bench also said it has not diluted any provision of SC/ST Act and only safeguarded the interest of innocents from being arrested.

However, the provisions of the Act cannot be used to terrorise the innocents, it said.

The top court listed the Centre’s review petition after 10 days for detailed hearing and asked the Maharashtra government and others to file written submissions by then.

The union government, in its review petition, said the 20 March verdict has “wide ramification and implication resulting in dilution of the stringent provisions of law enacted under the 1989 enactment. It adversely affects a substantial portion of the population of India being the members of SC/ST. It is also contrary to the legislative policy of Parliament as reflected in the Prevention Of Atrocities Act 1989”.

The supreme court had on 20 March said that “in view of the acknowledged abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Atrocities Act, arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded.”

No immediate arrest of public servants in cases under SC/ST Act: SC

The Supreme Court today took note of the rampant misuse of the stringent Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against government servants and held that there shall be no immediate arrest on any complaint filed under the law.

Before arresting a public servant under the SC/ST Act, a preliminary probe by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent is a must, the court said.

A bench of Justices Adarsh Goel and U U Lalit said there shall be no absolute bar for granting anticipatory bail to public servants booked under the stringent provisions of the law.

The bench, which passed a slew of directions, said a public servant can be arrested in cases lodged under SC/ST Act only after prior approval by the competent authority.

NAC for dedicated courts to try offences under SC/ST Act

Here in National Advisory Council (NAC), Sonia Gandhi  recommended setting up of dedicated courts to try offences under the SC/ST Act on fast track basis besides defining ‘wilful negligence’ by public servants

The council also suggested that preventing Dalits and tribals from entering places of worship, imposing social boycott on them should be made punishable offences.

At its meeting here, the NAC deliberated on the proposals of its working group on Dalit issues to amend the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Obstructing members of such groups from using community resources will also be made an offence under amendments proposed by the NAC to the 24-year-old law.

It wanted the government to make provisions in the Act to ensure that the cases are disposed of within three months from filing of the charge sheet.

The NAC also recommended that relevant IPC offences attracting punishment of less than 10 years committed against SCs and STs should be defined as offences under this act.

It also wanted expansion of the scope of presumption as to whether perpetrator had knowledge of the SC/ST identity of the victim, while committing the offence.

It further suggested strengthening State accountability by clearly defining ‘wilful negligence’ by public servants.

“Rules to the Act be amended to ensure that quantum of relief and rehabilitation is enhanced, and further that it is not calculated as a fixed amount, but adjusted annually to inflation. In addition, the compensation should be released expeditiously,” the NAC suggested.

Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, made a presentation on the Aadhaar project and Direct Benefit Transfer.