SC/ST ver­dict: Govt may bring or­di­nance in Mon­soon ses­sion

Millennium Post - - FRONT PAGE - MPOST BUREAU

There is a need to over­turn the Supreme Court or­der lay­ing down fresh guide­lines on ar­rest of those ac­cused of com­mit­ting atroc­i­ties against SC and ST com­mu­ni­ties, the gov­ern­ment feels, and bring­ing an or­di­nance to re­store the orig­i­nal pro­vi­sions of the SC/ST (Preven­tion of Atroc­i­ties) Act is one of the op­tions be­ing con­sid­ered.

Sources aware of de­lib­er­a­tions within the gov­ern­ment at dif­fer­ent lev­els say pro­mul­gat­ing an or­di­nance to re­store the orig­i­nal pro­vi­sions would help calm tem­pers.

In­tro­duc­ing a bill in the Mon­soon ses­sion of Par­lia­ment slated for July to amend the Sched­uled Castes and Sched­uled Tribe (Preven­tion of Atroc­i­ties) Act, 1989 to over­turn the SC or­der is the sec­ond op­tion be­fore the gov­ern­ment, the sources said.

“If an or­di­nance is is­sued, it too will have to be con­verted into a bill and passed by Par­lia­ment. The re­sult of the two ex­er­cises is the same – to re­store the orig­i­nal pro­vi­sions. But the or­di­nance has the ben­e­fit of giv­ing in­stant re­sults. It will help calm tem­pers im­me­di­ately,” a se­nior func­tionary said.

Dalit groups had or­gan­ised protests across the coun­try on April 2 against the al­leged di­lu­tion of the Act through the March 20 ver­dict of the Supreme Court. The protests had turned vi­o­lent at sev­eral places which left sev­eral peo­ple dead.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties also ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of fail­ing to pro­tect Dalit rights.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Fri­day as­serted his gov­ern­ment would not let the law to pre­vent atroc­i­ties on SCS and STS to be di­luted.

“I want to as­sure the na­tion that the law which has been made strin­gent by us will not al­low to be af­fected (by the SC or­der)...,” he had said.

But the sources said no de­ci­sion has been taken so far and much would de­pend on the way the hear­ing on a re­view pe­ti­tion filed by the Min­istry of So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment in the apex court pro­gresses.

They said since re­view pleas may not bear im­me­di­ate re­sults and the SC de­ci­sion could not be favourable, the gov­ern­ment will have to firm up its stand on the fu­ture course of ac­tion.

The apex court had laid down new guide­lines for po­lice of­fi­cers on how to en­sure that in­no­cent peo­ple, es­pe­cially pub­lic of­fi­cials, are pro­tected from false com­plaints un­der the act.

In a writ­ten sub­mis­sion filed be­fore the top court on Fri­day, the Cen­tre said the ver­dict on the SC/ST Act has “di­luted” its strin­gent pro­vi­sions, re­sult­ing in “great dam­age” to the coun­try by caus­ing anger and a sense of dishar­mony among the peo­ple.

Ob­serv­ing that the court had dealt with an is­sue of a “very sen­si­tive na­ture”, the sub­mis­sion said the ver­dict has caused “com­mo­tion, anger, un­ease and a sense of dishar­mony” in the coun­try.

It dubbed the en­tire judge­ment as “vi­ti­ated” as it pro­ceeded on the ba­sis that the top court can leg­is­late a law de­spite hav­ing no such power.

The stand of the gov­ern­ment came a week af­ter the apex court re­fused to keep in abeyance its ver­dict, say­ing those ag­i­tat­ing against its or­der putting in place cer­tain safe­guards on ar­rests un­der the 1989 Sched­uled Castes and Tribes (Preven­tion of Atroc­i­ties) Act, may not have read the judge­ment or could have been mis­led by “vested in­ter­ests”.

The writ­ten sub­mis­sions filed by At­tor­ney Gen­eral K K Venu­gopal said: “this judge­ment has di­luted, for the rea­sons stated, the pro­vi­sions of the Atroc­i­ties Act read with the Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure, 1973, re­sult­ing in great dam­age to the coun­try”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.