SC re­verses di­lu­tion of SC/ST Act, re­stores orig­i­nal sec­tions No SC in­terim or­der on J&K, hear­ing in Nov

Says It Ven­tured Into Do­main Of Leg­is­la­ture

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Front Page - AmitA­nand.Choud­hary @times­group.com Mem­bers of SCs and STs have suf­fered for long, hence if we can­not pro­vide pro­tec­tive dis­crim­i­na­tion ben­e­fi­cial to them, we can­not place them... at a dis­ad­van­ta­geous po­si­tion that may be caus­ing in­jury to them by wideni

New Delhi: One-and-a-half years af­ter its ver­dict do­ing away with au­to­matic ar­rest pro­vi­sion in the law to pre­vent atroc­i­ties against Dal­its and trib­als, the Supreme Court on Tues­day re­stored the orig­i­nal dis­pen­sa­tion, say­ing its pre­vi­ous or­der had strayed into leg­isla­tive do­main.

The di­lu­tion of the strin­gent pro­vi­sions of the Sched­uled Castes and Sched­uled Tribes (Pre­ven­tion of Atroc­i­ties) Act had sparked protests by Dal­its across the coun­try. A vote in Par­lia­ment un­do­ing the rul­ing trig­gered an up­per caste back­lash against BJP gov­ern­ments in polls in end-2018 and saw the Cen­tre leg­is­lat­ing a quota for eco­nom­i­cally weaker sec­tions (read up­per castes). A two-judge bench, com­pris­ing Jus­tices A K Goyal (now re­tired) and U U Lalit, had in March last year di­rected that po­lice had to con­duct a pre­lim­i­nary en­quiry in seven days be­fore tak­ing any ac­tion on a com­plaint and also in­tro­duced pro­vi­sion of an­tic­i­pa­tory bail, over­rid­ing the sec­tion that says pre-ar­rest bail does not ap­ply for of­fences un­der the Act. It had said such pro­vi­sion was re­quired to safe­guard the in­ter­ests of the in­no­cent and to pre­vent mis­use of the Act.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tues­day re­fused to pass an in­terim or­der on the de­ci­sion to bi­fur­cate Jammu & Kash­mir into two Union ter­ri­to­ries and fixed Novem­ber 14 for hear­ing a clutch of pe­ti­tions chal­leng­ing the scrap­ping of the state’s spe­cial sta­tus un­der Ar­ti­cle 370.

The court, how­ever, said it will thor­oughly ex­am­ine the Cen­tre’s de­ci­sion.

Even as it turned down the plea to re­store sta­tus quo (J&K’s bi­fur­ca­tion comes into ef­fect on Oc­to­ber 31), a five­judge Con­sti­tu­tion bench of Jus­tices N V Ra­mana, S K Kaul, R Sub­hash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said: “If the pe­ti­tions are al­lowed, can’t the clock be put back?”

The bench made it clear that it would ask the Cen­tre to place all doc­u­ments be­fore it per­tain­ing to its de­ci­sion to scrap the spe­cial sta­tus to

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J&K while grant­ing four weeks to the Cen­tre and J&K ad­min­is­tra­tion to file replies.

The bench said “rea­son­able time” is needed to file the af­fi­davits. It granted one week there­after to the pe­ti­tion­ers to file their counter-af­fi­davit. The SC also said the pe­ti­tion­ers should con­sider ap­proach­ing the J&K high court.

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