SC/ST Act di­lu­tion: Paswan wants PM to take quick ac­tion

LJP Chief’s Let­ter May En­hance Pos­si­bil­ity Of Govt Is­su­ing Or­di­nance

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

New Delhi: Union min­is­ter and LJP chief Ram Vi­las Paswan on Thurs­day re­it­er­ated that Cen­tre bring an or­di­nance to counter the Supreme Court’s judg­ment al­legedly di­lut­ing the SC/ST (Preven­tion of Atroc­i­ties) Act, up­ping the pres­sure within the gov­ern­ment for swift ac­tion on the sen­si­tive is­sue.

Paswan on Thurs­day shot off a let­ter to Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi with his de­mand to “pro­tect the in­ter­est of SCs and STs”. Though key Union min­is­ters have been speak­ing of the pos­si­bil­ity of the or­di­nance in the af­ter­math of April 2 protest, the LJP chief ’s fresh de­mand came in the wake of the apex court or­der on Wed­nes­day post­ing the mat­ter for July while de­fend­ing it’s ear­lier or­der that it won’t al­low any in­no­cent to get ar­rested even if the gov­ern­ment brings a law.

Paswan’s let­ter to PM is seen to have strength­ened the pos­si­bil­ity of the Cen­tre is­su­ing an or­di­nance dur­ing the pen­dency of the SC hear­ing. The Union min­is­ter said the in­for­mal group of min­is­ters un­der Ra­j­nath Singh had de­cided to pro­mul­gate the or­di­nance be­fore the sum­mer va­ca­tion of the Supreme Court. The SC will go on va­ca­tion from Mon­day and will re­sume on July 2.

Speak­ing to re­porters a day after the apex court said it won’t al­low any in­no­cent to get ar­rested even if the gov­ern­ment brings a law to side­step the SC or­der, the min­is­ter sought jus­tice for the crimes against Dal­its for thou­sands of years. “The Supreme Court can­not frame the law and it’s sup­posed to in­ter­pret the law...This is a spe­cial law and has been made as per pro­vi­sion of the Con­sti­tu­tion,” he added.

Paswan also ar­gued that un­der any law the ar­rested per­son can ap­proach the court after 24 hours and get bail. “So, even un­der the SC/ ST law no one is be­ing stopped from get­ting re­lief from court,” he added. The pro­vi­sion of no an­tic­i­pa­tory bail to the ac­cused un­der the SC/ ST law has been the con­tention since it gives sweep­ing power to ar­rest the per­son against whom al­le­ga­tions are made.

The Supreme Court had, on March 20, said 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 law in 1989. The judg­ment led to wide­spread vi­o­lence in sev­eral states.

Ram Vi­las Paswan’s de­mand came in the wake of the apex court rul­ing out ar­rest of an in­no­cent un­der the SC/ST Act

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