SC/ST Act dilution: Paswan wants PM to take quick action
LJP Chief’s Letter May Enhance Possibility Of Govt Issuing Ordinance
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